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A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are typically chaotic and exhibit herd behavior, and usually generated by civil unrest.

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 Ethnic groups, food supply or religions (see race riot, sectarian violence and pogrom), the outcome of a sporting event or frustration with legal channels through which to air 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.

Some 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.

Dealing with riots is often difficult task for police departments, and police officers sent to deal with riots are usually armed with ballistic shields and riot shotguns, mainly because of the larger spread of the shorter barrels. Police may also use tear gas and CS gas to stop rioters. Most riot police have moved to using less-than-lethal methods to control riots, such as shotguns that fire rubber slugs and flexible baton rounds to injure or otherwise incapacitate rioters for easy arrest.


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