Voices on the Street: Hackney Riots

A young amateur filmmaker captures the truth in the heart of the riot - see them here exclusively on Dazed Digital

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After seeing this hard-hitting interview filmed in the heat of the Hackney riots, we got in touch with the young filmmaker to find out more – he also gave us a few other videos he shot that day and hadn’t yet uploaded. This footage is pretty raw, but well worth spending some time with. This is the unedited voice of the streets, with emotions expressed in the heat of the moment, not afterwards in a TV studio. And whether you agree or not, one thing is clear: the people talking in them can not be described as “mindless”, as our government would have you believe.

Dazed Digital: Who are you and what's your background?
Mabley Green:
For the purpose of this article, my name is Mabley Green, I work in the media industry and I used to work for a youth activism magazine. I have a strong interest in social justice, development and youth engagement.

DD: Why did you go and shoot this interview at the Hackney riots?
Mabley Green:
To be honest, a big factor for me going down was curiosity. It was on my way home and I didn't feel the live media coverage was painting the full picture, so I wanted to see for myself. While I was seeing a lot of footage of the rioting and looting on the TV, there was very little on the motives behind it, and there was no engagement with the people taking part – understandably so – but I felt that by going down there myself, there was an opportunity to get valuable footage of the real people involved and their motives.

DD: Do you think it's important to get the point of view from people at a riot at the time, rather than afterwards?
Mabley Green: I feel that to ensure these riots don't happen again, it is vital that the government and society seek to understand why people are hitting the streets in the first place – rather than just palm it off as mindless violence. It's not about condoning the actions at all, but addressing the issues that drive this level of violence is surely in everybody's interest? However, while I hope these views don't fall on deaf ears, it doesn't look promising when benefits are being taken away, heavy jail terms are being handed out and eviction notices are being served… all of which have the potential to make the situation worse.

DD: Were you worried for your own safety at any point? One journalist in Hackney reportedly got bottled and others were attacked.
Mabley Green: I didn't really feel in danger for most of my time there – I wasn't walking around with a big camera, or with a TV crew, so I don't think I was seen as a threat. I was asked to put my Flipcam away at one point, politely, but that was it.

DD: Will you do more of these if it happens again?
Mabley Green: Yeah, I think the response that this video has received suggests that there is a demand for this sort of filming – whether it is at a peaceful protest, or even covering the fallout from this protest. I have just set up a blog called www.mableygreen.blogspot.com where I am planning to post all of my future video content.  

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