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Riot

From Academic Kids

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Riots in Newark, New Jersey

Riots occur when crowds of people have gathered and are committing crimes or acts of violence.

Dispersing violent crowds is usually a task for the police, although widespread rioting may require military support.

"Less than lethal" weapons, such as water cannon, rubber bullets, pepper spray, flexible baton rounds and riot control agent, are often used to control crowds although in some cases the police themselves will instigate a riot by attacking an otherwise peaceful gathering of people (usually protesters).

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Rioters in Barcelona, Spain, 2003, destroying a McDonalds sign.

Some repressive countries use deadly force to stop riots, particularly if martial law is declared or in a country at war. This is generally permissible under the laws of war so long as nonparticipating civilians are not intended targets. Collateral damage is a common result.

Contents

United Kingdom

Under UK law, a riot is defined by the 1986 Public Order Act as 12 or more persons who "together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety". This carries the possibility of a fine and a sentence of up to ten years' imprisonment.

If there are fewer than twelve people present, violence may constitute the lesser offence of Violent Disorder. This is defined the same way as for a riot, but for 3 or more persons.

History

The worst riots in US history with respect to lives lost took place during the Civil War when immigrant factory workers forcibly resisted the Federal Government's military draft, the New York Draft Riots. The riots are vividly depicted in movies such as Gangs of New York.

Notable riots

See List of riots.

See also

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