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A riot ( // ) is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority, property or people. Riots typically involve theft, vandalism, and destruction of property, public or private. The property targeted varies depending on the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.
Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance or civil unrest, is an activity arising from a mass act of civil disobedience in which the participants become hostile toward authority, and authorities incur difficulties in maintaining public safety and order, over the disorderly crowd. It is, in any form, prejudicial to public law and order..
Authority is the right to exercise power, which can be formalized by a state and exercised by way of judges, appointed executives of government, or the ecclesiastical or priestly appointed representatives of a God or other deities.
Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.
Riots often occur in reaction to a grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor people with no jobs or living conditions, governmental oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between ethnic groups, (race riot) or religions (sectarian violence, pogrom), the outcome of a sporting event (sports riot, football hooliganism) or frustration with legal channels through which to air grievances.[ citation needed ]
A grievance is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint. In the past, the word meant the infliction or cause of hardship.
Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity. The term's antonyms include agreement, consensus and consent, when one party agrees to a proposition made by another.
Quality of life (QOL) is an overarching term for the quality of the various domains in life. It is a standard level that consists of the expectations of an individual or society for a good life. These expectations are guided by the values, goals and socio-cultural context in which an individual lives. It is a subjective, multidimensional concept that defines a standard level for emotional, physical, material and social well-being. It serves as a reference against which an individual or society can measure the different domains of one’s own life. The extent to which one's own life coincides with this desired standard level, put differently, the degree to which these domains give satisfaction and as such contribute to one's subjective well-being, is called life satisfaction.
While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots typically consist of disorganized groups that are frequently "chaotic and exhibit herd behavior."However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that riots are not irrational, herd-like behavior, but actually follow inverted social norms.
Herd behavior is the behavior of individuals in a group acting collectively without centralized direction. Herd behavior occurs in animals in herds, packs, bird flocks, fish schools and so on, as well as in humans in demonstrations, riots and general strikes, sporting events, religious gatherings, episodes of mob violence and everyday decision-making, judgement and opinion-forming.
T. S. Ashton, in his study of food riots among colliers, noted that "the turbulence of the colliers is, of course, to be accounted for by something more elementary than politics: it was the instinctive reaction of virility to hunger." [ verification needed ]Charles Wilson noted, "Spasmodic rises in food prices provoked keelmen on the Tyne to riot in 1709, tin miners to plunder granaries at Falmouth in 1727."
Thomas Southcliffe Ashton (1889–1968) was an English economic historian. He was professor of economic history at the London School of Economics at the University of London from 1944 until 1954, and Emeritus Professor until his death in 1968. His best known work is the 1948 textbook The Industrial Revolution (1760–1830), which put forth a positive view on the benefits of the era.
The River Tyne is a river in North East England and its length is 73 miles (118 km). It is formed by the confluence of two rivers: the North Tyne and the South Tyne. These two rivers converge at Warden Rock near Hexham in Northumberland at a place dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'.
Falmouth is a town, civil parish and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It has a total resident population of 21,797.
Today, some rioters have an improved understanding of the tactics used by police in riot situations. Manuals for successful rioting are available on the internet, with tips such as encouraging rioters to get the press involved, as there is more safety and attention with the cameras rolling. Civilians with video cameras may also have an effect on both rioters and police.
A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition, initially developed for the television industry but now common in other applications as well.
Dealing with riots is often a difficult task for police forces. They may use tear gas or CS gas to control rioters. Riot police may use less-than-lethal methods of control, such as shotguns that fire flexible baton rounds to injure or otherwise incapacitate rioters for easier arrest.[ citation needed ]
Tear gas, formally known as a lachrymator agent or lachrymator, sometimes colloquially known as mace, is a chemical weapon that causes severe eye and respiratory pain, skin irritation, bleeding, and even blindness. In the eye, it stimulates the nerves of the lacrimal gland to produce tears. Common lachrymators include pepper spray, PAVA spray (nonivamide), CS gas, CR gas, CN gas, bromoacetone, xylyl bromide, syn-propanethial-S-oxide, and Mace, and household vinegar.
The compound 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (also called o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile; chemical formula: C10H5ClN2), a cyanocarbon, is the defining component of a tear gas commonly referred to as CS gas, which is used as a riot control agent. Exposure causes a burning sensation and tearing of the eyes to the extent that the subject cannot keep his or her eyes open, and a burning irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat, resulting in profuse coughing, nasal mucus discharge, disorientation, and difficulty breathing, partially incapacitating the subject. CS gas is an aerosol of a volatile solvent (a substance that dissolves other active substances and that easily evaporates) and 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, which is a solid compound at room temperature. CS gas is generally accepted as being non-lethal. It was first synthesized by two Americans, Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton, at Middlebury College in 1928, and the chemical's name is derived from the first letters of the scientists' surnames.
A police riot is a term for the disproportionate and unlawful use of force by a group of police against a group of civilians. This term is commonly used to describe a police attack on civilians, or provoking civilians into violence.[ citation needed ]
A prison riot is a large-scale, temporary act of concerted defiance or disorder by a group of prisoners against prison administrators, prison officers, or other groups of prisoners. It is often done to express a grievance, force change or attempt escape.[ citation needed ]
In a race riot , race or ethnicity is the key factor. The term had entered the English language in the United States by the 1890s. Early use of the term referred to riots that were often a mob action by members of a majority racial group against people of other perceived races.[ citation needed ]
In a religious riot , the key factor is religion. The rioting mob targets people and properties of a specific religion, or those believed to belong to that religion.
Student riots are riots precipitated by students, often in higher education, such as a college or university. Student riots in the US and Western Europe in the 1960s and the 1970s were often political in nature. Student riots may also occur as a result of oppression of peaceful demonstration or after sporting events. Students may constitute an active political force in a given country. Such riots may occur in the context of wider political or social grievances.[ citation needed ]
Urban riots are riots in the context of urban decay, provoked by conditions such as discrimination, poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, poor healthcare, housing inadequacy and police brutality and bias. Urban riots are closely associated with race riots and police riots.[ citation needed ]
Sports riots such as the Nika riots can be sparked by the losing or winning of a specific team or athlete. Fans of the two teams may also fight. Sports riots may happen as a result of teams contending for a championship, a long series of matches, or scores that are close. Sports are the most common cause of riots in the United States, accompanying more than half of all championship games or series.[ citation needed ] Almost all sports riots occur in the winning team's city.
Food and bread riots are caused by harvest failures, incompetent food storage, hoarding, poisoning of food, or attacks by pests like locusts. When the public becomes desperate from such conditions, groups may attack shops, farms, homes, or government buildings to obtain bread or other staple foods like grain or salt, as in the 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots.[ citation needed ]
The economic and political effects of riots can be as complex as their origins. Property destruction and harm to individuals are often immediately measurable. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, 2,383 people were injured, 8,000 were arrested, 63 were killed and over 700 businesses burned. Property damage was estimated at over $1 billion. At least ten of those killed were shot by police or National Guard forces.
Similarly, the 2005 civil unrest in France lasted over three weeks and spread to nearly 300 towns. By the end of the incident, over 10,000 vehicles were destroyed and over 300 buildings burned. Over 2,800 suspected rioters were arrested and 126 police and firefighters were injured. Estimated damages were over €200 Million.
Many governments and political systems have fallen after riots, including:
Riots are typically dealt with by the police, although methods differ from country to country. Tactics and weapons used can include attack dogs, water cannons, plastic bullets, rubber bullets, pepper spray, flexible baton rounds, and snatch squads. Many police forces have dedicated divisions to deal with public order situations. Some examples are the Territorial Support Group, Special Patrol Group, Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, Mobiele Eenheid, and Arrest units.
The policing of riots has been marred by incidents in which police have been accused of provoking rioting or crowd violence. While the weapons described above are officially designated as non-lethal, a number of people have died or been injured as a result of their use. For example, seventeen deaths were caused by rubber bullets in Northern Ireland over the thirty five years between 1970 and 2005.
A high risk of being arrested is even more effective against rioting than severe punishments. [ dubious ] As more and more people join the riot, the risk of being arrested goes down, which persuades still more people to join. This leads to a vicious cycle, which is typically ended only by sufficient police or military presence to increase the risk of being arrested.
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In India, riotingis an offense under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Riot is a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is created by section 1(1) of the Public Order Act 1986. Sections 1(1) to (5) of that Act read:
A single person can be liable for an offence of riot when they use violence, provided that it is shown there were at least twelve present using or threatening unlawful violence.
The word "violence" is defined by section 8. The violence can be against the person or against property. The mens rea is defined by section 6(1).
See R v Tyler and others, 96 Cr App R 332,  Crim LR 60, CA.
Mode of trial and sentence
Riot is an indictable-only offence. A person convicted of riot is liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine, or to both.
See the following cases:
Association football matches
In the case of riot connected to football hooliganism, the offender may be banned from football grounds for a set or indeterminate period of time and may be required to surrender their passport to the police for a period of time in the event of a club or international match, or international tournament, connected with the offence. This prevents travelling to the match or tournament in question. (The measures were brought in by the Football (Disorder) Act 2000 after rioting of England fans at Euro 2000.)
Compensation for riot damage
See the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 and section 235 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995..
Construction of "riot" and cognate expressions in other instruments
Section 10 of the Public Order Act 1986 now provides:
As to this provision, see pages 84 and 85 of the Law Commission's report.
Common law offence
The common law offence of riot was abolishedfor England and Wales on 1 April 1987.
In the past, the Riot Act had to be read by an official - with the wording exactly correct - before violent policing action could take place. If the group did not disperse after the Act was read, lethal force could legally be used against the crowd. See also the Black Act.
Section 515 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 formerly made provision for compensation for riot damage.
Riot is a serious offence for the purposes of Chapter 3 of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
See paragraph 13 of Schedule 5 to the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962.
There is an offence under the law of Scotland which is known both as "mobbing" and "mobbing and rioting".
In July 1981, both Dundee and Edinburgh saw significant disorder as part of the events of that July,while in 1994 and in 2013, two years after the English riots of August 2011, Edinburgh saw rioting, albeit localised to one specific area and not part of any bigger 'riot wave'. Events in 1981 were very similar to those in England, although sources are severely limited. Both Niddrie and Craigmillar saw riots in the 1980s.
Under United States federal law, a riot is defined as:
A public disturbance involving (1) an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons, which act or acts shall constitute a clear and present danger of, or shall result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual or (2) a threat or threats of the commission of an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons having, individually or collectively, the ability of immediate execution of such threat or threats, where the performance of the threatened act or acts of violence would constitute a clear and present danger of, or would result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual.18 U.S.C. § 2102.
Each state may have its own definition of a riot. In New York, the term riot is not defined explicitly, but under § 240.08 of the N.Y. Penal Law,"A person is guilty of inciting to riot when one urges ten or more persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to create public alarm."
An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.
In many legal jurisdictions related to English common law, affray is a public order offence consisting of the fighting of one or more persons in a public place to the terror of ordinary people. Depending on their actions, and the laws of the prevailing jurisdiction, those engaged in an affray may also render themselves liable to prosecution for assault, unlawful assembly, or riot; if so, it is for one of these offences that they are usually charged.
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by putting the victim in fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear; that is, it is a larceny or theft accomplished by an assault. Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery is differentiated from other forms of theft by its inherently violent nature ; whereas many lesser forms of theft are punished as misdemeanors, robbery is always a felony in jurisdictions that distinguish between the two. Under English law, most forms of theft are triable either way, whereas robbery is triable only on indictment. The word "rob" came via French from Late Latin words of Germanic origin, from Common Germanic raub -- "theft".
The Riot Act 1714 was an act of the Parliament of Great Britain which authorized local authorities to declare any group of 12 or more people to be unlawfully assembled and to disperse or face punitive action. The act's long title was "An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters", and it came into force on 1 August 1715. It was repealed in England and Wales by section 10(2) and Part III of Schedule 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967. Acts similar to the Riot Act passed into the laws of British colonies in Australia, Canada, and America, some of which remain today.
The defence of property is a common method of justification used by defendants who argue that they should not be held liable for any loss and injury that they have caused because they were acting to protect their property. Courts have generally ruled that the use of force may be acceptable.
A citizen's arrest is an arrest made by a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. In common law jurisdictions, the practice dates back to medieval England and the English common law, in which sheriffs encouraged ordinary citizens to help apprehend law breakers.
The concept of justifiable homicide in criminal law stands on the dividing line between an excuse, a justification, and an exculpation. In certain circumstances, in most societies, homicide is justified when it prevents greater harm to innocents. A homicide can only be justified if there is sufficient evidence to prove that it was reasonable to believe that the offending party posed an imminent threat to the life or well-being of another, in so-called self-defense. A homicide in this instance is blameless and distinct from the less stringent criteria authorizing deadly force in stand your ground rulings.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (c.38) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which almost entirely applies only to England and Wales. The Act, championed by then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, was passed in 2003. As well as strengthening the anti-social behaviour order and Fixed Penalty Notice provisions, and banning spray paint sales to people under the age of 16, it gives local councils the power to order the removal of graffiti from private property.
Unlawful assembly is a legal term to describe a group of people with the mutual intent of deliberate disturbance of the peace. If the group is about to start the act of disturbance, it is termed a rout; if the disturbance is commenced, it is then termed a riot. In Britain, the offence was abolished in 1986.
Arrestable offence is a legal term now obsolete in English law and the legal system of Northern Ireland, but still used in the legal system of the Republic of Ireland. The Criminal Law Act 1967 introduced the category to replace the ancient term felony. That Act had been superseded by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which over the next two decades was itself significantly amended to increase police powers of arrest, relating in particular to entry, search following arrest and to custody. In England and Wales, the category "arrestable offence" ceased to exist with the advent on 1 January 2006 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. In Northern Ireland, it ceased to exist with the advent of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Amendment) Order 2007. In the Republic of Ireland, the Criminal Law Act 1997 abolished the terms felony and misdemeanour and created the term "arrestable offence" in their place.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) is an Act of Parliament which instituted a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales to combat crime, and provided codes of practice for the exercise of those powers. Part VI of PACE required the Home Secretary to issue Codes of Practice governing police powers. The aim of PACE is to establish a balance between the powers of the police in England and Wales and the rights and freedoms of the public. Equivalent provision is made for Northern Ireland by the Police and Criminal Evidence Order 1989. The equivalent in Scots Law is the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. Although PACE is a fairly wide ranging piece of legislation, it mainly deals with police powers to search an individual or premises, including their powers to gain entry to those premises, the handling of exhibits seized from those searches, and the treatment of suspects once they are in custody, including being interviewed. Specific legislation as to more wide ranging conduct of a criminal investigation is contained within the Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act 1996.
Australian sedition law was an area of the criminal law of Australia relating to the crime of sedition.
Common assault was an offence under the common law of England, and has been held now to be a statutory offence in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is committed by a person who causes another person to apprehend the immediate use of unlawful violence by the defendant. It was thought to include battery but it does not. In England and Wales, the penalty and mode of trial for this offence is now provided section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, and it has been held that the offence should be alleged as contrary to the statute because of this. It was also held that common assault and battery are two distinct offences, so that a charge that the accused "assaulted and battered" another person would be bad for duplicity.
Self-defence is a legal doctrine which says that a person may use reasonable force in the defence of one's self or another. This defence arises both from common law and the Criminal Law Act 1967. Self-defence is a justification rather than an excuse, saying that a person's actions were not a crime at all.
In some countries, resisting arrest is a criminal charge against an individual who has committed, depending on the jurisdiction, at least one of the following acts:
The Public Order Act 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of public order offences. They replace similar common law offences and parts of the Public Order Act 1936. It implements recommendations of the Law Commission.
Violent disorder is a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is created by section 2(1) of the Public Order Act 1986. Sections 2(1) to (4) of that Act provide:
Fear or provocation of violence is a statutory offence in England and Wales created under the Public Order Act 1986.
The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is concerned with criminal justice and concentrates upon legal protection and assistance to victims of crime, particularly domestic violence. It also expands the provision for trials without a jury, brings in new rules for trials for causing the death of a child or vulnerable adult, and permits bailiffs to use force to enter homes.
The powers of the police in England and Wales are defined largely by statute law, with the main sources of power being the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Police Act 1996. This article covers the powers of police officers of territorial police forces only, but a police officer in one of the UK's special police forces can utilise extended jurisdiction powers outside of their normal jurisdiction in certain defined situations as set out in statute. In law, police powers are given to constables. All police officers in England and Wales are 'constables' in law whatever their rank. Certain police powers are also available to a limited extent to police community support officers and other non warranted positions such as police civilian investigators or designated detention officers employed by some police forces even though they are not constables.
an amended version of an article which first appeared in Jane's Police Products Review, October/November 2007, and includes information from British 37mm Baton Rounds, which appeared in Small Arms Review in August 2008
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