Free US Law DictionaryBETA
Riots are a form of civil disorders characterized by disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence, vandalism or other crime. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are typically chaotic and exhibit herd behavior.
Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, government oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between races or religions (see race riot and pogrom), or even the outcome of a sporting event. Some claim that rioters are motivated by a rejection of or frustration with legal channels through which to air their grievances.
Riots typically involve vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. The specific property to be targeted varies depending on the cause of the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.
In some places, rioters have become semi-professionals, travelling to the sites of likely riots. These rioters are known as firms. This is particularly noted in sports-related riots in Europe. For example, France, Poland and England commonly have riots related to football (soccer) matches. Rioters have become quite sophisticated at understanding and withstanding the tactics used by police in such situations. Manuals for successful rioting are available on the Internet. These manuals also encourage rioters to get the press involved, as there is more safety with the cameras rolling. There is also more attention. Citizens with video cameras may also have an effect on both rioters and police.