The Dark World: Beyond Riots

by Jeff Abbott on January 5, 2009

Last month riots racked Greece, in response to the police shooting of a teenager. A core group of rioters emerged from what were peaceful protests–disrupting Christmas business in the heart of Athens. One noticeable difference was that the rioters coordinated much of their activity and sent their message of outrage at the shooting through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube–even encouraging violence through these channels.

But groups–criminal or political–are extending the riot violence, now moving into attacks on the police, not as outraged rioters, but as masked gunmen.
I suspect this will be a new trend in civil disorder: more violent riots rising much more quickly, and illicit groups taking advantage of violence that might have burned out quickly in earlier times. These groups will either use the violence for camouflage for their own attacks, or will “extend” the violence–in other words, keep the riots going after they should died a natural death as anger is spent–for their own purposes of undermining the state.
Rioting is changing in this new century.

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