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Teamsters, armed with pipes, riot in a clash with riot police in the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934.
Rioters typically wear face masks, scarves, and other headgear, in order not to be recognizable and in order to filter tear gas; they may use cobblestones as projectiles

A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized by disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against people or property. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are typically chaotic and exhibit herd behavior.

Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, government oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between races, food supply or religions (see race riot, sectarian violence and pogrom), the outcome of a sporting event or frustration with legal channels through which to air grievances.

Riots typically involve vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. The specific property to be targeted varies depending on the cause of the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.

Some rioters have become quite sophisticated at understanding and withstanding the tactics used by police in such situations. Manuals for successful rioting are available on the internet. These manuals also encourage rioters to get the press involved, as there is more safety with the cameras rolling. There is also more attention. Citizens with video cameras may also have an effect on both rioters and police.

Dealing with riots is often difficult task for police departments, and police officers sent to deal with riots are usually armed with ballistic shields and riot shotguns, mainly because of the larger spread of the shorter barrels. Police may also use tear gas and CS gas to stop rioters. Most riot police have moved to using less-than-lethal methods to control riots, such as shotguns that fire rubber slugs and flexible baton rounds to injure or otherwise incapacitate rioters for easy arrest.

Contents

Types of riots

Hooliganism

Police Riot

A "police riot" is a term for the wrongful, disproportionate, unlawful and illegitimate use of force by a group of police against a group of civilians. A police riot commonly describes a situation where police attack a group of peaceful civilians and/or provoke previously peaceful civilians into violence.

Prison Riot

A prison riot is a type of large scale, temporary act of concerted defiance or disorder by a group of prisoners against the prison administrators, prison officers, or other groups of prisoners in attempt to force change or express a grievance.

Race Riot

"Race riot" is a term describing a riot in which race or ethnicity is a key factor. The term had entered the English language in the United States by the 1890s. Early use of the term in the United States referred to race riots which were often a mob action by members of the majority racial group against people of other perceived races.

Religious Riot

"Religious riot" is a term describing a riot in which religion is a key factor.[1] The rioting mob targets people and properties of a specific religion.

Student Riot

Student riots are riots precipitated by students, often in higher education, such as a college/university. Student riots in the US and Western Europe in the 1960s and the 1970s were often political in nature, although student riots can occur as a result of peaceful demonstration oppressed by the authorities and after sporting events (see hooliganism). Students may constitute an active political force in a given country, and student riots may occur in the context of wider political or social grievances.

Urban Riots

Urban riots are those riots identified as taking place in the context of urban conditions associated with urban decay, such as discrimination, poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, poor healthcare, housing inadequacy and police brutality and bias. Urban riots are closely associated with race riots and police riots. In India, for instance, caste riots have tended to be limited to rural theatres while religious riots centred around urban agglomerations.

Food and bread riots

This type of riot is caused by harvest failures, incompetent food storage, hoarding, poisoning of food, or attacks by pests like locusts. When the public becomes too desperate in such conditions, they attack shops, farms, homes, or government buildings to attain bread or other staple foods like grain or salt, as in the 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots.

Political implications

Many governments and political systems have fallen after food riots, including-

Riot History

An armed mob on the prowl during the Direct Action Day riots in Calcutta.

Asia

The 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots was a 3-4 day period of communal violence against Sikhs. These riots were started in retaliation of the assassination of Prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards (in revenge for Operation Bluestar). It is estimated that about 2,000 Sikhs were killed in the riots across India.

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 were a series of demonstrations led by students, intellectuals and labour activists in the People's Republic of China between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989. The demonstrations centred on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Government retaliation was often violent and riots broke out in affected regions.

In 2005, the Chinese government admitted to 87,000 demonstrations and riots across China. [2]

The Jakarta riots of May 1998 were a series of riots against ethnic Chinese Indonesians in Jakarta and Surakarta, Indonesia.There were also hundreds of documented accounts of ethnic Chinese women being raped, tortured and killed. [3] Human Rights groups have determined that the Indonesian military was involved in the riots, which degenerated into a pogrom. [4]

The Partition of India was a traumatic event in South Asian history that followed the independence of the region from British colonial rule. The ensuing riots resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Muslims.

In 2006, there were nationwide riots in Pakistan and numerous other areas over the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. [5]

In 2008, several citizens, mainly native Tibetans, in Tibet have rioted against the Chinese government months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in response to the detainment of 300 lamaist monks. In addition to the riots, other Tibetan citizens and other anti-Chinese organizations outside of China, attempted to disrupt the Olympic torch relay prior to the riots as well as several other issues by harassing the torch bearers by attempting to remove to torch. In response, the torch bearers had to be escorted by security to prevent further conflicts with protesters.

Australia

The Sydney Riot of 1879, is one of the earliest riots at an international cricket match. Riots have become major news generators, including Aboriginal riots in response to the death of an Aboriginal boy, and most recently the 2005 summer race riots. These riots took place on the beaches of the eastern Sydney suburbs and directly downtown, most prominently Cronulla.

Europe

Europe has historically seen a diverse range of riots, ranging from hooliganism to May Day riots. Recent riots have taken place in a political context (escalation of political demonstrations), rioting to prevent the eviction of social centres and/or squats, and racial tensions in the broader context of urban decay.

Riots broke out in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden from the 14th to the 16th of June 2001. A total of 53 police officers and 90 vandals and demonstrators were hurt during the many riots that were going on between these days. The reasons for the riot were the EU summit that took place in Gothenburg and the visit of USA's President George W. Bush.

The Nørrebro riots followed the selling of Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen in Denmark. People from Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom participated in the riots. In total 750 people were arrested during the fighting; 140 of these foreigners.

In October 2005 and again in November 2007, immigrant youth rioted in the poor Paris suburbs of Clichy-sous-Bois and Villiers-le-Bel, respectively, each time in reaction to the deaths of North African youth at the hands of police.

Another similar incident in Greece, involving the death of a 15-year-old student, who was fatally shot by a police officer, resulted to widespread rioting throughout the country.

United States

The worst riots in United States 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. These riots were graphically depicted in the movie Gangs of New York with a disputable level of accuracy.

Since the 1950s the US has seen a series of race riots in the context of the civil rights movement and urban decay. Over the first nine months of 1967, 128 American cities suffered 164 riots.[6] The 1967 Newark riots became, per capita, one of deadliest civil disturbances of the 1960s. The long and short term causes of the riots are explored in depth in the documentary film Revolution '67. The assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. triggered riots across numerous American cities. The 1992 Los Angeles riots, triggered by the Rodney King Trial were regarded as the worst in recent U.S. history with deaths estimated at 54 people and nearly a billion dollars in damage caused.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in New York City in June 1969 and has become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention, however, saw the most well-remembered riots in recent US history and were a strong influence towards the eventual American withdrawal from Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War. The 2000 Democratic National Convention protest activity made headlines, including the Lakers riot. There was also a riot in Cincinnati in 2001. In the last decade the US has also seen a number of anti-globalization protests, most notable the Seattle protests of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, also known as the "Battle of Seattle", and the 2005 Toledo Riot.

Police response

Law enforcement teams wear body armor and shields, and may use tear gas

Riots are typically dealt with by the police (riot control), although methods differ from country to country. Tactics and weapons used can include attack dogs, water cannons, plastic bullets, rubber bullets, pepper spray, flexible baton rounds, and snatch squads . Many police forces, such as the London Metropolitan Police Service, have dedicated divisions to deal with public order situations (see Territorial Support Group, Special Patrol Group, Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, Mobiele Eenheid).

The policing of riots has been marred by incidents in which police have been accused of instigating or provoking rioting or crowd violence (see Police riot); also, while the weapons described above are officially designated as non-lethal, a number of people have allegedly died or been injured as a result of their use.

National laws against riots

Riot laws: Riot Act, Black Act

England and Wales

Under English law, a riot is defined by the Public Order Act 1986 as twelve 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". A single person can be liable for an offense of riot when they use violence provided that it can be shown there were at least twelve present using or threatening violence. The violence can be against the person or against property. This carries the possibility of a fine and a sentence of up to ten years' imprisonment.

If there are fewer than twelve people present, the lesser offense of "Violent Disorder" is charged, for which there is a requirement for at least three persons to use or threaten unlawful violence together. This is defined similarly to riot, but no common purpose is required.

In the past, The Riot Act had to be read by an official - with the wording exactly correct - before any policing action could take place. If the group did not disperse after the act was read, lethal force could legally be used against the crowd.

In recent times nobody has been charged with a Section 1 offense (Riot) in England and Wales. This is because if a Section 1 offense takes place the local police service are regarded as having failed and are liable to pay compensation. The best known example of this is the Poll tax demonstrations of 1990 where nobody was charged with Section 1. All were charged as though a collection of Section 2 (violent disorder involving 3 people) acts had just happened to take place in one location.

Current English law

Cars are sometimes set on fire during riots

In English Law Riot forms part of the Public Order Act 1986 under section 1.

The Public Order Act 1986 s.1 states:

1) Where twelve or more persons who are present 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, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot.

2) It is immaterial whether or not the twelve or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.

3) The common purpose may be inferred from conduct.

4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.

5) Riot may be committed in private as well as in public places.

Ramifications

  • In the case of riot connected to football hooliganism, the offender may be banned from football grounds for a set or indeterminate period of time and may have to surrender their passport to the police for a period of time in the event of a club or international match, or international tournament, connected with the offence. This prevents travelling to the match or tournament in question. The measures were brought in as the Football (Disorder) Act 2000 after rioting of England fans at Euro 2000.[8]

United States

Under United States federal law, a riot is defined as A public disturbance involving (1) an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons, which act or acts shall constitute a clear and present danger of, or shall result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual or (2) a threat or threats of the commission of an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons having, individually or collectively, the ability of immediate execution of such threat or threats, where the performance of the threatened act or acts of violence would constitute a clear and present danger of, or would result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual. 18 U.S.C. § 2102.

As every state in the United States has its own laws (subject to the Supremacy Clause), each has its own definition of 'riot.' In New York State, for example, the term 'riot' is not defined explicitly, but under § 240.08 of the N.Y. Penal Law, A person is guilty of inciting to riot when he urges ten or more persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct of a kind likely to create public alarm.

See also

References

  • Blackstones Police Manual Volume 4 General police duties, Fraser Simpson (2006). pp. 245. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-928522-5

Reading List

  • Applegate, Col. Rex (1992). Riot Control: Materiel and Techniques. Paladin Press. ISBN 9780873642088. 
  • Beene, Capt. Charles (2006). Riot Prevention and Control: A Police Officer's Guide to Managing Violent and Nonviolent Crowds. Paladin Press. ISBN 1581605188. 
  • Bessel, Richard Emsley, Clive (2000). Patterns of Provocation: Police and Public Disorder. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1571812288. 
  • Hernon, Ian (2006). Riot!: Civil Insurrection from Peterloo to the Present Day. Pluto Press. ISBN 0745325386. 
  • Waddington, P.A.J. (1991). The Strong Arm of the Law: Armed and Public Order Policing. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198273592. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

RIOT (0. Fr. note, of uncertain etymology), the gravest kind of breach of the peace, short of treason, known to the English law. It consists in a tumultuous disturbance of the peace by an assemblage of three or more persons who, with intent to help one another against any one who opposes them in the execution of some enterprise, actually execute that enterprise in a violent and turbulent manner, to the terror of the people. It is not necessary that violence should be used to any person or damage done to any property. Whether the enterprise itself is lawful or unlawful is not material, the gist of the offence lying in the mode in which the enterprise is carried out (The Trafalgar Square Riots, 1888, 16 Cox. Cr. Cas. 420, 427; Stephen, Dig. Crim. Law, 6th ed., art. 77). Nor is it material whether the enterprise is of a private or a public nature, though in the latter case the rioters may also be guilty of sedition or treason. An assembly in its inception perfectly lawful may become a riot if the persons assembled proceed to form and execute a common purpose in the manner above stated, although they had no such purpose when they first assembled. Riot differs from "Affray" in the number of persons necessary to constitute the offence, from an "Unlawful Assembly" in that actual tumult or violence is an essential element, and from "Rout," which may be described as a beginning or endeavour to create a riot. It was considered as early as the 14th century that the English common law gave an insufficient remedy against riot. In 1360 the statute of 34 Edward III. gave jurisdiction to justices to restrain, arrest and imprison rioters. In 1393 the statute of 17 Richard II. conferred similar powers on the sheriff and posse comitatus. Numerous other acts extending the common law were passed, especially in the Tudor reigns (see Stephen, History of the Criminal Law, vol. i. p. 202). Both these acts above mentioned are still on the statute book, but the earliest act now in force of real importance as to this offence is the Riot Act (1716), which creates certain statutory offences for riot attended by circumstances of aggravation. That act makes it the duty of a justice, sheriff, mayor or other authority, wherever twelve persons or more are unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace, to resort to the place of such assembly and read the following proclamation: "Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George for preventing tumultuous and riotous assemblies. God save the King." It is a felony to obstruct the reading of the proclamation or to remain or continue together unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously for one hour after the proclamation was made or for one hour after it would have been made but for being hindered. The act requires the justices to seize and apprehend all persons continuing after the hour, and indemnifies them and those who act under their authority from liability for injuries caused thereby. The punishment for the felony is penal servitude for life or for a term of not less than three years, or imprisonment with or without hard labour for not more than two years. Prosecutions for an offence against the act must be commenced within twelve months after the offence.

By s. i 1 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 (which is a reenactment of a similar provision made in 1827 in consequence of the frame-breaking riots), it is a felony for persons riotously and tumultuously assembled together to the disturbance of the public peace to unlawfully and with force demolish or begin to demolish or pull down or destroy any building, public building, machinery or mining plant. The punishment is the same as for a felony under the Riot Act. By s. 12 it is a misdemeanour to injure or damage such building, &c. The punishment is penal servitude from three to seven years, or imprisonment as in the case of the two felonies above described. Under the Shipping Offences Act (1793) a riotous assemblage of three or more seamen, ship's carpenters and other persons, unlawfully and with force preventing and hindering or obstructing the loading or unloading or the sailing or navigation of any vessel, or unlawfully and with force boarding any vessel with intent to prevent, &c., is punishable on a first conviction as a misdemeanour by imprisonment from six to twelve months, and on a second conviction as a felony by penal servitude from three to fourteen years. And under the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (s. 40) summary penalties are provided for forcible interference with seamen in the exercise of their lawful occupation.

Besides these enactments there are others aimed at similar offences, such as smuggling, forcible entry and detainer, tumultuous petitioning (1661, 13 Charles II.), holding large political meetings within a certain distance of Westminster Hall during the sitting of parliament (Seditious Meetings Act 1817). For these offences see Stephen, Dig. Cr. Law, 6th ed., arts. 81-87.

It is the duty of a magistrate at the time of a riot to assemble subjects of the realm, whether civil or military, for the purpose of quelling the riot. In this duty he is aided by the common law, and a statute of 1414 (Henry V.), under which all subjects of the realm are bound to assist on reasonable warning, and by various enactments enabling the authorities to call out the militia, yeomanry and reserve forces for the suppression of riot, and to close public-houses where a riot is apprehended (Licensing Act 1872). It is his duty to keep the peace; if the peace be broken, honesty of intention will not avail him if he has been guilty of neglect of duty. The question is whether he did all that he knew was in his power and which could be expected from a man of ordinary prudence, firmness and activity. The law as thus stated is gathered from the opinions of the judges on the trials of the lord mayor of London and the mayor of Bristol on indictments for neglect of duty at the time of the Gordon riots of 1780 and the Bristol riots in 1831.1 In addition to his liability to an indictment at common law, a defaulting magistrate is subject under the provisions of acts of 1411 (Henry IV.) and 1414 (Henry V.) to a penalty of froo for every default, the default to be inquired of by commission under the great seal. A matter of interest is the extent of the protection afforded by the Riot Act to soldiers acting under the commands of their officers. The question was dealt with by Lord Bowen and his fellow-commissioners in the report on the Featherstone riots (Parl. Paper, 1893-1894, C. 7 2 34). The substance of their views is as follows: By the law of England every one is bound to aid in the suppression of riotous assemblages. The degree of force, however, which may be lawfully employed in their suppression depends on the nature of each riot, for the force used must always be moderated and proportioned to the circumstances of the case and to the end to be attained. The taking of life can only be justified by the necessity for protecting persons or property against various forms of violent crime, or by the necessity of dispersing a riotous crowd which is dangerous unless dispersed, or in the case of persons whose conduct has become felonious through disobedience to the provisions of the Riot Act, and who resist the attempt to disperse or apprehend them. The necessary prevention of such outrage on person or property justifies the guardians of the peace in the employment against a crowd of even deadly weapons. Officers and soldiers are under no special privileges and subject to no special responsibilities as regards the principle of the law. A soldier for the purpose of establishing civil order is only a citizen armed in a particular manner. He cannot because he is a soldier be exonerated if without necessity he takes human life. The duty of magistrates and peace officers to summon or abstain from summoning the assistance of the military depends in like manner on the necessities of the case. A soldier can act only by using his arms. The weapons he carries are deadly. They cannot be employed at all without danger to life or limb, and in these days of improved rifles and perfected ammunition without some risk of danger to distant and possibly innocent bystanders. To call for assistance against rioters from those who can interfere only under such grave conditions ought, of course, to be the last expedient of the civil authorities. But when the call for help is made and a necessity for assistance from the military has arisen, to refuse such assistance is in law a misdemeanour. The whole action of the military when once called in ought from first to last to be based on the principle of doing, and doing without fear, that which is absolutely necessary to prevent serious crime, and of exercising care and skill with regard to what is done. No set of rules exists which governs every instance or defines beforehand any contingency that may arise. The presence of a magistrate is not essential, but is usual, and of the highest value to aid the commander of the troops by local knowledge. But his presence or absence has no legal effect on the duties or responsibilities of the military to use their arms when it becomes necessary to do so, and without recklessness or negligence and with reasonable care and caution; and where they have so acted the killing of a rioter is justifiable homicide, and the killing of an innocent bystander is homicide by misadventure. It is not usual to resort to extremities with rioters until after reading the proclamation under the Riot Act (1716), 1 Reports of these trials will be found in the State Trials, New Series, vol. iii. pp. 1, 11. Most of the important cases of riot are collected or referred to in that series.

XXIII. 2 a but this preliminary is by no means a condition precedent to the exercise of the common-law powers of suppressing riots.

The crown cannot charge upon the local rates the expense of maintaining soldiers called into a district by the magistrates to suppress a riot (re Glamorgan County Council, L.R. 1899, 2 Q.B. 536); but the cost of extra police drafted in for the like purpose falls on the rates of the district into which they are drafted (see Police Act 1890, s. 25). Until 1886 persons whose property was damaged by riot had a civil remedy of an exceptional character by action against the hundred in which the riot took place. This remedy was a survival of the pre-Conquest liability of the hundred to guarantee the orderly conduct of its inhabitants. The hundred was made liable in case of robbery by the Statute of Winchester (1285).1(1285).1 That and subsequent acts were repealed in the reign of George IV., and their provisions were consolidated by an act of 1827 which gave a remedy against the hundred in the case of felonious demolition of churches, chapels, houses, machinery, &c., being feloniously demolished by rioters. The last instance of the use of this exceptional remedy was in the case of a riot at Worthing, and the remedy was abolished in 1886. When the Piccadilly riots occurred in that year no one knew that the injured shops were in the hundred of Ossulston, and difficulties arose in applying the old procedure. So an ex post facto statute was passed (the Metropolitan Police Compensation Act 1886) for a special settlement of the claims, and the old statutes were repealed and replaced by the Riot Damage Act 1886. Under this act compensation is payable where rioters have injured or destroyed houses, shops, buildings, fixed or movable machinery and appliances prepared or used for or in connexion with manufactures or agriculture, or for mines or quarries, or vessels stranded or in distress (see Wreck), or have injured, stolen, or destroyed property in houses, shops or buildings. The compensation is payable out of the police rate for the district in which the damage is done; or if it was done afloat, for the district nearest to the scene of action. The claim is made on the police authority for the district. The time and form for making claims and the mode of fixing the amount of compensation is regulated by rules made by the Home Secretary on the 30th of June 1894 (Stat. R. and O. 1894, No. 636). In adjusting the amount regard is had to the conduct of the claimant, viz. as to precautions taken by him, his share, if any, in the riot, or provocation offered to the rioters. Failure to carry out a programme for athletic sports has been held to debar a claimant from compensation for damage done by a riot among the disappointed spectators who had paid to see the sports. The claimant must give credit for insurance money, or any other compensation received in respect of the damage; but the insurers or persons who paid such compensation may file a claim against the police rate for the amount paid by them. Persons dissatisfied with the award of the police authority may sue for the recovery of their claim subject to a liability to pay all the costs if they do not get judgment for more than the amount awarded. The action, if it is not for more than ioo, is to be brought in the county court. The remedy is available in the case of stranded ships plundered by rioters (s. 515 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894).

The Riot Act does not extend to Ireland, but similar provisions are contained in an act of the Irish Parliament passed in 1787 as amended by acts of 1831 and 1842. These acts create a special offence punishable by penal servitude for life, viz. sending notices, letters or messages inciting or tending to riot. Under the Criminal Procedure Ireland Act 1887 (a temporary act) summary proceedings may be taken against rioters. The civil remedy against the county or borough for malicious injury to property, real or personal, including ships in distress and their cargo, is wider than in England or Scotland, but it includes malicious injury by rioters where There is a curious exception still on the Statute-book depriving persons robbed while travelling on the Lord's Day of any right to compensation from the hundred (Lord's Day Act 1677, s. 5).

the injury is a crime within the Malicious Damage Act of 1861. Claims are now dealt with in the county court, and not as formerly by the grand jury and judge of assize (Local Government Ireland Act 1898, s. 5).

In Scotland a riot may be either "rioting and mobbing" or "rioting and breach of the peace." The first is much the same as riot in English law. Mobbing consists in the assembling of a number of people and then combining against order or peace to the alarm of the lieges (Alison, Cr. Law of Scotland, vol. i. p. 509; Macdonald, Criminal Law, 180). The second offence occurs when concourse or a common purpose are wanting. Numerous acts against rioting and unlawful convocation were passed by the Scottish parliament, beginning in 1487. The Riot Act (1716) applies to Scotland. There is a civil remedy against the county or burgh in which a riot takes place in respect of damage done by the rioters to houses, churches, buildings and ships, and buildings or engines used in trade or manufacture. The remedy is given by a series of statutes of 1716, 1812, 1816, 1817 and 1894. The procedure for its enforcement is now regulated by the Riotous Assemblies (Scotland) Act 1822, and amending statutes. The county or burgh authorities may adjust claims without litigation, and pay them out of the general assessments.

British Dominions

In India the offence of riot, as defined by s. 146 of the Penal Code, consists in the use of force or violence by an unlawful assembly (which must consist of at least five persons, s. 141), or by any member thereof in the prosecution of the common object of such assembly (see Mayne, Ind. Criminal Law, ed. 1896, p. 489). In Ceylon and the Straits Settlements provisions based on the Indian Code are in force. In most of the settled Colonies the English law as to riot applies subject to local legislation. The Criminal Codes of Canada (1892,(1892, ss. 79-86), New Zealand (1893, ss. 83-89) and Queensland (1899, ss. 61-67) adopt the substance of the English law as to riot, in terms borrowed from the English draft Code of 1880. In those of the West Indies whose common law is based on that of France, Holland or Spain, the English law as to riot has been applied by ordinance, e.g. in British Guiana (Criminal Code 1893, tit. xix), and St Lucia (Criminal Code 1888, tit. xxv). In the South African colonies the English law of riot does not apply, but under the Dutch Roman law there exists a similar offence, known as "public violence" (vis publica), i.e. the use of violence and force by which the public rest and order is endangered and the authority of the lawful authorities and officials is set at naught. The offence was capital (see Van Leeuwen, Roman-Dutch Law, tr. by Kotze, 1886, vol. ii. p. 294; Morice, English and Roman-Dutch Law, 1903, p. 334). Similar provisions based on the French Penal Code are in force in Mauritius (Penal Code of 1838).

United States

In the United States the law is based upon that of England (see Bishop, Amer. Cr. L., 8th ed., 1892, vol. i. s. 534, vol. ii. ss. 1143 et seq.). In some states there is a statutory proclamation for the dispersion of rioters in terms almost identical with those of the British Riot Act. The city, town, or county is by the statutes of many states rendered liable for damage caused by rioters, with or without a remedy over against the persons who did the damage (see revised Laws of Massachusetts, ed. 1902, chap. 211, sects. 2, 8).


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Simple English

Riots happen when many people meet to be violent. This can happen after sport events, or as protest. The state wants to stop riots, because rioters damage cars and buildings. The police are used to stop riots. They fight with soft weapons, for example with water cannons or rubber bullets.

There have been many riots all over the world, especially in England, United States, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Australia and France.








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