UK Riots: The Broom Army Fight Back Against Looters with "Operation Cup of Tea"

The British anti-riot movement sweeps to victory

By , Columnist

Just how have the British been coping with the riots and looting on their city streets? Forget the riot police; forget water cannons; forget bringing in the British army. The Great British public has fought back the only way it knows how: with a stiff upper lip, a sense of humor, and a nice cup of tea.

After four days of terror and looting at the hands of hoodie-wearing yobs, the British public got tired of hoping that their government would finally grow some balls and formed their own army: the Broom Army.

The front line came in the form of Turkish shopkeepers in Dalston, London, who stood side by side and formed a barrier between the looters and their livelihood. The call to arms went out on Twitter; #fightback began to trend. When relief supplies were required the morning after the battle, hundreds responded to #riotcleanup and arrived en masse to pick up the fallen and damaged. Proudly they held their brooms aloft; the moral victory was all theirs.


The pause was brief. The Broom Army knew there would be another battle to fight that very evening. They knew that the shameful looters would soon get bored of gloating over the goods they had stolen and would be back for more once darkness fell. It was time to prepare in the only way the British know how — by having a cup of tea.


And so, #OperationCupOfTea began at 8.30 pm on Tuesday evening. By Wednesday afternoon over 200,000 people had pledged to 'Make Tea Not War’. By proudly posting pictures of themselves armed with steaming cups of tea on Twitter and Facebook, ordinary citizens were demonstrating their anti-riot sentiments.

Slogans such as ‘Mugs not Thugs’,‘Use Brooms not Bombs’, and ‘Steal Hearts not Trainers’ (a reference to the fact that the looters were breaking into sportswear stores and stealing ‘trainers’ or sports shoes… classy, no?) demonstrates the good old British sense of humor’s ability to survive under attack.

Even shopkeepers under threat of further looting used their sense of humor to outwit their sloth-brained enemies. One manager of Waterstones, a chain of bookstores, decided to leave his doors open for the looters, “because then they might actually read something”. One fast food store manager posted a sign on his door: “Due to the imminent collapse of society we regret to announce we are closing at 6pm tonight”.


You could argue that this level of dry, sophisticated, and utterly genius wit will completely pass the yobs by and therefore is a waste of time. You are probably right but, actually, who cares what they think? They DON'T think. We should disregard them; turn our backs; they have looted their way beyond the right to be heard.

Listen instead to the battle cry for good that vastly outnumbers them. More people turned up on the streets to clean them up than turned up to destroy them. Armed with their brooms, their teabags, their wit, and their Churchillian fighting spirit, the Broom Army will prevail and the looting scum will fail.

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Victoria Robertson is a freelance current affairs columnist and founder of With her back foot firmly planted in some commonsense and a lively swing of the bat, she knocks today's big news stories straight out of the park.

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