National/World

Fresno State students in London amid chaos

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More than a dozen Fresno State students are in London as part of a three week study abroad program. Fortunately, the students haven't been affected by the violence there because it's happening in other parts of the city. But the faculty member who is with them says they are closely watching what's going on to stay out of harm's way.

Fresno State Professor Dr. John Beynon said the chaos hasn't interrupted their studies but he woke up Tuesday morning wondering if he should call off class. "The riots hadn't reached the areas where we were living or where our classrooms are. So instead what we did is I had them come to class and we talked about the riots this morning. They were very curious, they were full of questions," said Beynon.

Beynon said he and the students are relying on media coverage and Twitter feeds to stay informed about what's going on -- and where. The students are staying in Maida Vale. No incidents have been reported there, but Beynon has heard about an encounter in his neighborhood, Notting Hill. "Approximately 40 looters barged into the restaurant and I guess you could say terrorized the customers that were in there, taking their rings off their fingers and threatening them in some ways," said Beynon.

A former Clovis resident is also in London. Tony Pizza frequently visits his girlfriend there and saw some of the looting first hand. "We drove through East London yesterday and saw probably a gang of 50 or so kids, running down the street, smashing windows, doing smash and grabs," said Pizza.

While Pizza and the students haven't been impacted by the violence, the Fresno State students are being extra careful and are avoiding some parts of the city. "Being in the U.K., we're getting good and up-to-date media coverage and we're also getting a clear and precise sense of where things are happening. That makes me feel good, that I know where the incidents are happening so I can make sure the students are aware of that and they aren't in places that could be dangerous," said Beynon.

The Fresno State students are scheduled to return to the U.S. Sunday, so they still have a few days for the violence to subside and hopefully return to normal. In the meantime, they were supposed to take in a soccer game Wednesday, but that game has been cancelled because of the violence.

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Tags:
london, riot, national/world, amanda perez
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