London Riots: Tweeters Pray for England, Organize Mass Clean-Ups on Twitter

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  • London Riots
    (Reuters/Jon Boyle)
    A police officer stands guard as firefighters work to extinguish the flames of a blazing store in Woolwich, southeast London, August 9, 2011. Rioting and looting spread across and beyond London on Monday as hooded youths set fire to cars and buildings, smashed shop windows and hurled bottles and stones at police in a third night of violence in Britain's worst unrest in decades.
By Ray Downs, Christian Post Reporter
August 9, 2011|10:17 am

As England continues to suffer from the chaos that has erupted, people have been using Twitter to pray for help and organize with others to improve the situation on the ground.

On Twitter, #prayforlondon has been trending since yesterday, with people from all over the globe adding the hashtag to their tweets in an effort to their spiritual solidarity for the people of England.

Ispeakthefame from Sydney, Australia, tweeted, “Don’t be afraid because God is always by your side. God never gives up on us. He makes the darkness go away!”

_Anniebella_ from London, tweeted, “It is often in the darkest times that people turn to Jesus. Praying for lives saved today. #prayforlondon.”

And Dr. Tayo Adeyemi, a pastor from Leeds who goes by the Twitter handle, DrTayo, tweeted a multiple step prayer guideline for those praying for the people affected by the English riots. “1. Ask God to stop this wave of violence. 2. Pray for police - wisdom, courage & protection,” he tweeted.

“3. Pray for youth… pray for peace in the hearts of young people - rebuke the spirit of violence & disorder in their hearts…. 4. Pray for protection over innocent residents & passersby. 5. Command the devil to stop, full stop! JESUS IS LORD!”

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But not everybody using the #prayforlondon hashtag were asking God for help. Some used the hashtag to tell people to stick to secular solutions to resolve the growing crisis.

@nakedvix London, tweeted, “Don't #prayforlondon. A mythical man in the sky isn't going to extinguish fires, rebuild homes/businesses and help young people feel wanted.”

And @rcosgrove, from the UK, outright rejected the trending hashtag. “Don’t send us prayers,” he tweeted. “Send us police and fire crews, and food, drink, gloves, brushes and bin bags to help the #riotwombles,” referring to a trending term used to describe people trying to clean up the messes created by the rioting.

That being said, the secular tweeters might be getting their “prayers” answered as movements to clean-up the riots have been shaping up on Twitter.

@RiotCleanUp, a handle with information on where and when people can go to help clean-up the riot mess currently has almost 70,000 followers and #riotcleanup is a trending hashtag on Twitter.

In Clapham Junction, a section of London hard-hit by the riot, @RiotCleanUp helped organize a clean-up as many tweeters reported from the scene, sending tweets describing the scene to their followers.

@kayaburgess tweeted, “Almost everyone getting off the train at Clapham Junction is carrying a broom. #riotcleanup.”

And even shop owners, many of which have seen their stores looted and even burned, have come out in support of the cleaners. “In Clapham Junction,” chris_coltrane tweeted. “All these people are here for the #riotcleanup. Pasty shop giving free bottled water to cleaners!”

And though there have been accusations of ethnic divides as the source of the riots, the effort to clean-up London is beyond religion or skin color, according to one tweeter.

@theQuietus tweeted, “#riotcleanup people commended, also: it was a multi-ethnic group of council workers who were scraping melted bin off the road this morning.”

The causes of the riots are undoubtedly complex and will take years to remedy, if ever. But despite the images of violence perpetuating the media, England is healing – even as it burns.

READ MORE: First Fatality as London Riots Spread Across Britain (PHOTOS)

 

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