Bonfire Night, a.k.a. Guy Fawkes Night (familiar to anyone who has seen the movie “V for Vendetta”) took place on it’s annual date, November 5. (Remember, remember the fifth of November!). Celebrations of this event usually include lighting bonfires (obviously) and setting off fireworks. An effigy of Guy is usually burned in the bonfire as part of the celebrations and children sit out with “Guy” and beg “A penny for the Guy?” in efforts to raise money to buy their own fireworks. It seems that this holiday has always been surrounded by a good deal of violence. This is likely due in part to it’s proximity to Halloween and the fact that it is celebrated on the weekend nearest to the fifth of November, and not always on the day. The holiday is also deeply political, having started when Fawkes attempted to set fire to the Parliament building. Though the festivities are overseen by the local authorities, things always seem to get out of hand in some way or another. This year, arsonists have started house fires by pushing fireworks through the mail slots of peoples’ homes. Firefighters have been kept busy by the fires being set both intentionally and accidentally all over London. A number of cars have been torched but fires are also caused by stray fireworks from reckless celebrators. Sometimes these accidental fires can be more dangerous than the intentional ones, as they can go unnoticed and set things alight which spread fire much more easily than others.
A few articles about some of the vandalism being caused by fireworks this weekend: