Liverpool ’81: the voice of the unheard

That's How The Light Gets In

1981:  burning milk float barricade on Upper Parliament Street

2011: the same scene today

Riots are the voices of the unheard
– Martin Luther King Jr

Sunday 5 July, 1981.  We live in a top floor flat on Canning Street in Liverpool 8.  Around seven in the evening we need some milk, so I pop over to the little backstreet store just behind Falkner Square.  Something seems to be going on; there are crowds of people milling around and a lot of noise – shouting and distant crashing sounds.  Sudden flurries of people run past, running away from the direction of Upper Parliament Street.  I say, ‘what’s happening?’  ‘There’s a riot.  The bizzies are getting hammered’.

Disturbances had kicked off two days earlier, on the evening of Friday July 3rd when the police had attempted to arrest a young, black motorcyclist at the junction of Granby and Selbourne Street.  An…

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