Turkish vigilantes chase off Hackney looters
PUBLISHED: 15:18 10 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:38 10 August 2011
Vigilante restaurant owners and shopkeepers have become an internet sensation after they grouped together to defend their businesses from rioters on Monday night.
A group of about 200 Turkish men, some of whom were armed with weapons, stood guard on the Crossway, on the border of Dalston and Stoke Newington, and chased off would-be looters.
Eight workers from Umut 2000 Ocakbasi restaurant were among them.
Chef Onur Guzel, 24, whose father owns the business, told the Gazette his staff helped all the other businesses run off vandals trying to make their way into Stoke Newington.
He said: “It was not just the business owners – the Turkish community sent lots of boys down too. Our staff stood outside from about 8pm until about 10pm.
‘Protecting our business’
“They had a few bars, but we didn’t have knives or anything sharp – our purpose was not to hurt anybody, it was just to protect our business.
“About 60 or 70 rioters tried to come down here, but there were more of us and we chased them away. My mum was in the restaurant, my dad wouldn’t let her outside because it was dangerous, but he was outside with everybody else.
“It worked – nobody touched our restaurant.
“We all came to stand outside again on Tuesday night, but nobody came back to cause more trouble.”
Grainy footage of the Turkish community’s defence of their businesses filmed by onlookers has appeared on YouTube and social networking websites – and the actions of the vigilantes has been widely supported.
Speaking to Iain Dale on LBC radio, Mayor of London Boris Johnson praised the Turkish men, saying: “I congratulate them, I do, and I want to say to them how much I admire them for the community spirit that they showed, and their resolution, and their defiance. That is what Londoners are starting to show.”