Starbucks in Piccadilly Gardens hands out coffee to the volunteers and workers clearing up after last night’s riots. Meanwhile the shop's own smashed front door is patched up.
The riots in many English cities this past week spread to Manchester and Salford last night. I have heard many figures and opinions expressed in the past 15 hours since it started, on many diverse tv and radio stations, on social media, and in the street, and have witnessed some of the damage myself.
It’s said that 2,000 people in small groups were rampaging through the city centre from Tuesday afternoon to the middle of the night. They were mostly under 20 years old, some as young as 9, most in hoodies or balaclavas.
I have heard that at least 150 shops were smashed with many completely looted, which included Van trainers, Cash generator (second hand electrical goods), Diesel clothes, supermarkets, tobacconists and alcohol stores. Charity shop Oxfam was thankfully not damaged, contrary to Facebook rumours.
There was certainly no political agenda; it was in my and many others’ opinion, merely the greed of disaffected youth with no moral compass who saw it as an opportunity to steal and to enjoy themselves by smashing up a city centre.
Described by councillor Pat Karnery as the worst night in Manchester's history, which is not true - the Manchester bomb in 1996 and the Blitz in World War II were guilty of more injury, and in the latter case, deaths. But it was certainly unprecedented, completely out of control and very frightening.
This morning many shop fronts have already been temporarily repaired, there is a strong police presence, and a strong community response. Community groups set up to respond include a peace vigil and a Clean Up Manchester action group. More on developments along with (mostly) excellent radio coverage at BBC Radio Manchester: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/england/manchester/ and https://www.facebook.com/bbcradiomanchester