In Britain, 5th November is Bonfire Night. When it’s traditional to let off fireworks and burn a dummy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605.
It’s supposed to be fun. A colourful spectacle. But for many people in inner-city areas this has become a time of year that they dread.
The other night, on some spare ground close to where I live, youths and children lit a large bonfire. It was close to houses. They used fireworks like guns, pointing them at head height and shooting them across the neighbourhood. Some of the kids were very young indeed and, though fascinated, were obviously afraid that they would be targeted and ‘shot’ by others.
The fire brigade arrived to put out the blaze but they seemed to be intimidated by the abusive youths. The fire crew didn’t leave the fire engine. In other areas there have been incidents where fire fighters were attacked.
They left and, soon after, returned accompanied by the Police.
The BritishPathe website has some vintage newsreel footage of children celebrating Bonfire Night in 1957 and 1959 at a cinema that is just a few hundred yards from this location. How things have changed.