"civil unrest against a perceived corrupt political system"
Nobody involved cared about that. Seriously - you had to be there, it really was people of various walks of life just grabbing everything out of shops then setting fire to them (then attacking firemen when they tried to rescue the families in the flats above), kicking people half to death, etc. - just going nutz to get stuff and get money and get away with settling scores against specific people or whatever community they disliked.
People being violently and/or sexually assaulted, robbed or even killed in the street. Not bankers, not politicians. Their own.
Not one bank or political institution was touched, only places with Cool Stuff in, and the cars/houses/persons of the working and/or poor people in their own communities.
"a chaotic mess of angry people lashing out"
A chaotic mess of rapturously smiling laughing people taking what they wanted and doing violence to people. Families having their homes torched and their lives endangered, swathes of jobs being ended by businesses being torched when nobody can afford insurance these days.
Killings of people who tried to help the victims, attacks against ambulances trying to treat the victims, attacks against firemen trying to put out fires.
Seriously, I don't know how to explain this convincingly enough without sounding emotive - this is in the place I've grown up in. Don't let people get away with saying it was a political demonstration - I mean you had to be there but seriously it REALLY. WASN'T., I would say what we all saw and endured had no protest component to it whatsoever past about 9pm on the first night - it was just open season for the cannibalistic predators of London to hurt/take from their own.