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2011 London riots: the inside story of how the government fought to keep control | The Sunday Times Magazine

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London, August 2011. It’s my first summer in No 10 as director of communications in David Cameron’s government. No one has told me that everyone leaves when the boss is on holiday. The building is dead — the electric charge that normally pulses through it gone. The focus for the few that are left is turbulence in the world economy.

Then, on Thursday, August 4, armed police shoot dead Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London. They say he was a suspected criminal under surveillance and believed to be armed. At first the shooting draws little attention. But it turns out there was no gun (though one was found near by), and Mr Duggan’s relatives and friends are distraught and incensed.

Victim: Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police in Tottenham, sparking the riots

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On Saturday protests outside the

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