Some areas of London have become “ethnic ghettos” where it is unsafe to walk and even the police themselves “fear to tread” – according to some extraordinary reports published by Russian state media in the wake of the Brussels bombings.
An article by the Kremlin-supported RT news outlet claimed there were parts of Paris, Berlin and the UK capital which could be likened to the Molenbeek municipality of Brussels, the subject of much attention since the Paris bombings.
According to a lengthy translation by the state-run Sputnik News website, areas of London such as Brixton and Peckham have “potentially ‘explosive’ ethnic neighbourhoods” like Molenbeek’s own - that extraordinarily insensitive pun included.
Linking districts that are “multicultural” to high numbers of “not-so-law abiding citizens”, Sputnik’s version observes that “it’s a different kind of London, not the one you might read about in a Charles Dickens novel”.
It goes on: “In the modern history of London, Brixton is known as one of the most dangerous districts in the city. The multi-ethnic borough itself is predominantly populated by people of African and Caribbean descent. Brixton is notorious for high levels of unemployment and poverty. RT recommends avoiding walking in the borough.”
The Russian media reports seem to justify associating the area with terrorism – not to mention the thinly-veiled racism – with a reference to the Brixton riots which spanned two days in 1981.
The reports have been likened to US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims last year that “we have places in London that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives” – and have met with a similar level of ridicule.
After local news website Brixton Blog picked up on the article, one reader said: “This is such a load of rubbish. There isn’t anywhere in London I wouldn’t walk.”
Twitter user Michael Veale suggested that visitors to Brixton were most at “danger of acute quinoa poisoning”.
And Paris-based AFP journalist Katy Lee seemed to take similar issue with the reports of no-go zones there, describing the Sputnik report as a “pretty special piece of journalism”.
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