Brixton riots - in pictures

Emma McFarnon
Monday 11 April 2011 13:23 BST

It is 30 years since people took to the streets of Brixton in what became one of the worst 20th century disorders London had ever seen.

On 11 April 1981, racial tensions between police and the black community erupted into violence, as locals fought back against the police’s stop and search operation, introduced to combat crime.

Operation Swamp 81, launched by the Metropolitan Police, saw more than 950 people stopped and searched over five days, in a bid to tackle Brixton’s higher than average crime rate.

Police were believed to have targeted the black community in their arrests, further souring relations between the two groups.

Unsubstantiated rumours of police brutality against a black man on April 10, followed by an arrest the following night, sparked the 5,000-strong riot, in which more than 279 police and 45 members of the public were injured.

Hundreds of buildings were burned, petrol bombs were hurled at police and shops were looted, in a night of violence which continued into the early hours.

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