Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Mayor Johnson heckled on riot visit

Mayor of London Boris Johnson during a visit to Rye Lane, in Peckham
Boris Johnson leaves in a police van following a visit to Rye Lane, in Peckham
Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks to a local resident during a visit to Peckham following the recent civil unrest

London Mayor Boris Johnson has paid a chaotic visit to riot-hit Peckham to show his support for the community after last week's disturbances.

Mr Johnson was at different times warmly approved, heckled by angry locals, surrounded by an excitable crowd, and finally popped into the front of a police van to ensure his smooth exit from the area.

He began by adding his own note to hundreds on the boarded up windows of Poundland, which has become known as the Peckham Peace Wall.

He wrote it out on the spot and added it to the throng: "I love Peckham! We will bounce back."

He visited clothes shop Blue Inc, where a public-spirited passer-by intervened during the riots and threw clothing out of the store after the shop had been set on fire and the blaze was put out before it could get any worse.

Shevona Roberts, 22, the assistant manager, said the man had been rewarded with a holiday to Jamaica.

"There's a gas line running through here, the whole shop could have gone up," she said.

Mr Johnson said: "This was a store which was saved by the heroism of a man who came in and put out the fire. This shows the great things that have come out of this, the real spirit of London."

Many of the locals pumped his hand and shouted approval during the visit, a few heckled as he was trying to give media interviews.

During these he touched on various subjects including cuts to police - "if the Government is showing more flexibility, which I slightly detect in the last few days, that's not a bad thing", the need to re-examine ways in which parents can discipline their children, and even that rioters should say "sorry" to businesses which had been attacked.

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