A riot is a type of civil unrest or disorder typically associated with large groups of people. Riots can be as a result of sporting activities, political activities, poor working conditions, government oppression, harsh living conditions, and conflict between religious or racial groups. Riots commonly involve destruction and vandalism of property, whether it be public or private. Properties that are targeted by the rioters vary widely depending on the inclinations of the riot, but they could include shops, restaurants, religious buildings, and state-owned buildings. Throughout history there have been riots that can be categorized as major on account of the scale of the riots, the value of property destroyed, numbers of casualties or the duration.
Largest Riots of the 21st Century
2002 Gujarat Riots
The 2002 Gujarat riots was an inter-communal violence that took place over three days in the western part of the Indian state of Gujarat, claiming the lives of 2,000 people. The riots have been referred to as a "pogrom", a word that is used to describe an intentional massacre of a singular ethnic group. In February 2002, a fire ripped through a train in Godhra station in Gujarat, burning 59 Hindu pilgrims to death. The minority Muslim population was suspected of the arson, and Hindu mobs rampaged through the city neighborhoods, engaging in the worst violence ever witnessed in the history of India since independence in1947. The cause of the fire at the train station remains disputed by the two religious communities. Over the years that followed, more than 100 people have been convicted and in 2011, the court found 31 Hindus guilty of killing Muslims who were sheltering in a single house. In 2012, a former minister in the state government was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Riots in Kyrgyzstan
The riots of Kyrgyzstan in 2010 have also been known as the Kyrgyzstan revolution or the second revolution. The riots started in April 2010 and led to the ousting of the Kyrgyzstan president Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power in the capital of Bishkek. The riots were followed by ethnic tension between the Uzbeks and the Kyrgyz communities which escalated in mid-2010. The riots led to the deaths of an estimated t 2,000 people and resulted in the displacement of 40,000 others. At the height of the riots, more than 1,000 protesters marched to the government headquarters and briefly took government workers hostage. The security forces managed to block the protesters and retain their hold on the building, only to be forced out again by the protestors before the head of state was finally ousted.
Riots in Nigeria
The riots in Nigeria in 2010, also known as the 2010 Jos riots, were a clash between the Christian and Muslim communities of Nigeria. Jos is the capital of Plateau state located in the middle of the divide between the predominately-Muslim north and predominately-Christian south in Nigeria. There has longtime been tension between the two communities within Nigeria. From as early as 2001, the region has been experiencing violence motivated by a myriad of factors, amongst them religious and economic ones. The first ignition of violence occured in the January 2010 and spread to the nearby communities resulting in houses, vehicle, mosques, and churches being set ablaze throughout four days of violence. Ultimately, 992 people were and many more fled their homes for fear of further attacks.
Effects of riots
The economic and political effects of riots are as complex as their causes. Usually there are losses of lives, and destruction of property which is usually measurable. The 1992 riots in Los Angeles resulted in the injury of more than 2,383 people, the deaths of 51 people, 8,000 arrests, and more than 700 businesses destroyed by burning. More than $1 billion worth of property was damaged. Similarly, the 2005 French riots that lasted more than three weeks and spreading to more than 300 other towns led to enormous loses. At the end of the riots, more than 10,000 cars were destroyed and more than 300 buildings burned. More than 2,800 suspected rioters were arrested, and over 126 police and fire fighters were also injured, bringing the estimated damage total to more than €200 million.
Largest Riots of the 21st Century
|Rank||Riot Name||Location||Year||Death Toll (Est.)|
|1||2002 Gujarat Riots||Gujarat, India||2002||2,000|
|2||Riots in Kyrgystan||Kyrgystan||2010||2,000|
|3||Riots in Nigeria||Nigeria||2010||992|
|6||July 2009 Ürümqi riots||China||2009||197|
|8||Naroda Patiya Massacre||Ashmedabad, India||2002||97|
|9||2010 Kyrgzstani Uprising||Kyrgystan||2010||85|
|10||2008 Tibetan unrest||Tibet||2008||83|
|12||Bahrain Riots||Manama, Bahrain||2011||70|
|13||Riots in Indian Kashmir||India||2010||50|
|14||Ebonyi State Riots||Nigeria||2012||50|
|15||12 May Karachi Violence||Karachi, Pakistan||2007||48|
|16||Apodaca Prison Riot||Mexico||2012||44|
|18||Riots in Panama||Panama||2010||31|
|19||Cross River State Riots||Nigeria||2010||30|
|21||Mexico Prison Riot||Mexico||2010||28|
|22||Rio De Janeiro Riots||Brazil||2010||25|
|23||Ivory Coast Riots||Ivory Coast||2010||20|
|25||Riots in Indian Kashmir||India||2010||10|
|26||Central Punjab Riots||Punjab, Pakistan||2009||8|
|28||2006 Aligarh riots||Aligarh, India||2006||6|
|29||2009 Thai political unrest||Thailand||2009||6|
|31||December 2001 Riots||Buenos Aires, Argentina||2001||5|
|32||2008 riot in Mongolia||Ulan Bator, Mongolia||2008||5|
|34||Dongzhou Protests||Dongzhou, China||2005-2006||3|
|35||2003 Maldives Civil Unrest||Malé, Maldives||2003||3|
|36||2005 French Riots||Paris, France||2005||3|
|37||2007 West Bengal food riots||West Bengal, India||2007||3|
|39||Northeast India Riots||India||2010||3|
|40||27th G8 Summit||Genoa, Italy||2001||2|
|41||2005 Birmingham Riots||Birmingham, United Kingdom||2005||2|
|42||2006 civil unrest in San Salvadr Atenco||Mexico||2006||2|
|44||Bariloche Riots||Bariloche, Argentina||2010||2|
|46||Quebec Prison Riots||Quebec, Canada||2010||2|
|47||Seattle Mardi Gras Riot||Seattle, United States||2001||1|
|48||2003 Wrocław football riot 2003||Wrocław, Poland||2003||1|
|49||Guinea-Bissau Riot||Bissau, Guinea-Bissau||2007||1|
|50||Football riot||Široki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina||2009||1|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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