The Ely Riot
On Monday May 22nd, two teenage boys, Kyrees Sullivan and Harvey Evans, died in a serious crash in the Ely area of Cardiff. Word soon spread that the two boys had been pursued by a police car or had been hit by a car pursued by the police.
Members of their families and other local people were prevented from getting near the dead boys by a line of heavily kitted out cops. The police brought out a dozen riots vans, dogs, a helicopter and drones. Hundreds of angry local people gathered on Snowden Road, whilst they were treated with contempt and disdain by the police, who refused to communicate with the crowd about the deaths. When night fell, around a hundred local youth attacked the police lines with fireworks and other missiles. Several vehicles were set alight. The riot ended around 3.30 a.m. In the aftermath of the riot, nine people have been arrested. It appears that the bodies of the boys were not taken away but remained on the ground during the riot.
On Wednesday, hundreds of floral tributes were laid near the scene of the deaths. Belinda Sullivan, the mother of Kyrees, addressed the crowd that gathered and said “The police killed my son. I’ve got nothing else to say.” The police once again formed a threatening presence.
It was significant how much the police lied. First of all, on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Martyn Stone, Divisional Commander for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, denied any police pursuit had happened. The following day police and crime commissioner Alun Michael re-asserted this. This was followed by a press conference given by Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon who refused to answer journalists’ questions about a hot pursuit.
Since then CCTV footage has emerged that clearly shows a police van pursuing the boys on an electric bike.
The police are seen as an occupying army in the area with constant harassment of young people. Over two-thirds of children in Ely live in deep poverty. Previously, a “bread riot” broke out in Ely in 1991 as a result of the austerity programmes brought in by the Conservative government. The situation remains the same now in Ely, where grinding poverty is accompanied by heavy police repression.
It is not just in Ely that the cops are seen as an occupying army. The situation is the same throughout the UK, and the chances of further riots breaking out are high, as inflation continues to grow, the gap between rich and poor widens still further and the police continue their “heavy manners”.