Top 10 Riots of All Time

Joseph Pickett March 6, 2012 Comments Off on Top 10 Riots of All Time

Riots are rather ugly affairs. They show human beings in some of their worst behavior. Rioters try to make a point by killing, raping, looting and destroying property. Probably not the most effective way to bring about the changes that they want. Below are the worst riots we could find.

10. Moscow Plague Riot – 1771


The bubonic plague hit Russia in the 18th century. So the Russian government tried all sorts of tough policies to try to prevent the plague from spreading. They tried to close many public buildings, schools and stores. This led to food shortages and Moscow citizens went crazy on Sept. 16, 1777. A huge riot involving tens of thousands of Muscovites went down, and the Donskoy Monastery was captured. The Archbishop Ambrosius was hidden there. The rioters killed him.

9. New York Draft Riots – 1863


Riots broke out during ‘draft week’ from July 11-16, 1863 in New York City streets. Thousands of citizens gathered to protest the new draft laws passed by President Lincoln. The president ordered the army to enter the city to stop the rebellion. The rioters were busy burning buildings and killing one another. After the riots were quelled, 125 people were dead and property damage was over $1 million, a tidy sum for 1863.

8. Chinese Massacre – Los Angeles, 1871


This was a racially motivated riot that happened in 1871 in LA. About 500 white and Hispanic men rushed into Chinatown and started to attack the locals and pillage the buildings. Just about every house and building on the block of Chinatown was damaged and looted. Chinese people were beaten in the streets. About 25 Chinese Americans were killed.

7. Bombay, India Riots – 1992


The Bombay riots in December 1992 were about the worst riots that ever happened in India. The riots started because of the destruction of the Babri Mosque. So, the Muslims went ape shit after the mosque was demolished, and they attacked the Hindus. then the Hindus went apeshit on the Muslims. At the end, more than 900 citizens were killed. Lots of arson and theft took place as well.

6. Tulsa Race Riot – 1921


The worst race violence that ever happened on US soil probably occurred in Tulsa in 1921. A white woman who worked an elevator said that a black man assaulted her sexually on the job. This was a highly incendiary thing to say in Jim Crow-era America. The accused man headed for the hills, and hundreds of white men went hunting for him. This started a race riot that killed hundreds. This got so out of hand that many of the blacks and whites fighting were World War 1 veterans. So they began to take battle formations and started to dig trenches. At the end, 36 blocks of the city were ruined by fire. $21 million in damages were done.

5. Gujarat Riots – 2008


A mob of Muslims attacked a train in Sept. 2008, burning it. Then the mob threw rocks at the train so the helpless passengers could not get out. Riots broke out from this horrific attack and there were thousands killed. Also, 600 kids were left orphans when the rioting was done. Also, 225 people were left missing and presumed to be dead.

4. 2007 Narobi, Kenya Riots

There was a great deal of political unrest in Narobi that sadly led to terrible rioting in 2007. People thought that the election of their president was set up, so thousands of people rioted. Hundreds of people were killed from the coast to Narobi. Many buildings were destroyed and people were killed by machete.

3. Watts Riots – 1965

Police in LA in 1965 pulled over a man on a motorcycle that they thought was drunk. The man did not pass the sobriety test and they arrested him. As the cops started to take the motorcycle away, a crowd formed around them. Hundreds of people started throwing rocks at the cops. Racial tensions got worse over the ensuing days, and finally, a horrible riot started. 40 people died and 1500 were injured.

2. Detroit Riots – 1967

Police in 1967 did a raid on a drinking club in Detroit. They discovered 80 people who were having a party for returned war vets. The cops arrested all of them. This began a sad several days of violent riots. There was looting, fires and many murders. The National Guard was brought in as well as the 82nd Airborne. 43 people died, 1200 were injured and 7,000 were put under arrest.

1. LA Riots – 1992

In April 1992, a jury acquitted two police officers who were white. They had been charged for the beating of Rodney King, that was caught on video tape. After the verdict, many thousands of people rioted for a week. There were 55 people killed, and tons of looting, arson and assaults.


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