At 10:20 when Moss Side Police Station came under attack there were about 14 officers inside. Fifty to sixty young men stormed the police yard, throwing stones through its windows, chanting and yelling. At the Hytner inquiry, it was argued that the mob attacking the station included members of a local black youth club, white youths from Wythenshawe and “outside agitators” from Liverpool. To the Trinidadian Marxist intellectual, CLR James this cross-racial alliance could be compared with the uprising of the French Revolution which he had studied extensively. James asked after the riots,
Who then are these leaders to whom the people listened? We know some. Nevertheless, as in all the decisive days of the revolution, what we most would like to know is forever out of our reach; we would like to have the diary of the most obscure of these popular leaders; we would then be able to grasp, in the act so to speak, how one of these great revolutionary days began; we do not have it.
One of the black youth workers who observed the attack on the police station described how
The youngsters were throwing bricks through the windows for about ten to fifteen minutes… After about fifteen minutes we saw about six black marias come screaming down the road, travelling at about sixty or seventy miles per hour, and then the youngsters had to scatter because the police officers came out and they had batons, riot shields and the youngsters said ‘we’ll go down to the Princess Road end and we’ll take the shots from there’.
He emphasised the mixed composition of those involved in the siege,
That was the whole thing about it, that you had black and white youngsters just following each other, just running, just rampaging, tramping everything in sight.