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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

LONDON RIOTS: Police calm London, but riots flare across U.K.!


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AP / The Hindu / LONDON, August 10, 2011.

Fire-fighters tackle the fire at a recycling depot in Tottenham Hale, London on Wednesday.
Fire-fighters tackle the fire at a recycling depot in Tottenham Hale, London on Wednesday - AP.

Thousands of extra police officers flooded into London on Wednesday in a bid to end Britain’s worst rioting in a generation. An eerie calm prevailed in the capital, but unrest spread across England on a fourth night of violence driven by diverse and brazen crowds of young people.

Scenes of ransacked stores, torched cars and blackened buildings frightened and outraged Britons just a year before their country is to host the summer Olympic Games, bringing demands for a tougher response from law enforcement. Police across the country have made more than 1,100 arrests since the violence broke out over the weekend.

In London, where armored vehicles and convoys of police vans patrolled the streets, authorities said there would be 16,000 officers on duty -- almost triple the number present Monday. They said a large presence would remain in the city through the next 24 hours at least.

The show of force seems to have worked.

“Without wishing to speak too soon it’s been reasonably quiet for us so far tonight,” London’s Fire Brigade said in a message posted to Twitter earlier in the evening. “Let’s hope it stays that way.”
But outside the capital, chaos was spreading.

In the northwestern city of Manchester, hundreds of youths {hbox}” some looking as young as 10 --rampaged through the city center, hurling bottles and stones at police and vandalizing stores. A women’s clothing store on the city’s main shopping street was set ablaze, along with a disused library in nearby Salford.

Manchester’s assistant chief constable Garry Shewan said looting and arson had taken place there on an unprecedented scale.

“We want to make it absolutely clear {hbox}” they have nothing to protest against,” he said. “There is nothing in a sense of injustice and there has been no spark that has led to this.”

Britain’s riots began Saturday when an initially peaceful protest over a police shooting in London’s Tottenham neighborhood turned violent. That clash has morphed into a general lawlessness in London and several other cities that police have struggled to halt.


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