Riots continue in London, Cameron cuts short holiday

Updated: 2011-08-09 06:47


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Riots continue in London, Cameron cuts short holiday

Police officers in riot gear block a road near a burning car on a street in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011. Youths hurled missiles at police in northeast London on Monday as violence broke out in the British capital for a third night. [Photo/Agencies] 

LONDON - The streets of London were hit on Monday evening with a third night of violence as rioters attacked police, set fire to cars and looted shops in areas across the capital, which pressed Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short his holiday.

The districts of Peckham, Lewisham, Croydon and Deptford in south London saw violence, as well as Hackney in east London. Shops were set on fire in Peckham, a building set alight in Croydon and cars were torched in Lewisham and Deptford.

Police reported they had made arrests in the north London district of Kilburn.

Meanwhile, Cameron has decided to cut short his holiday to return to London due to the ongoing riots, his office said on Monday night.

Cameron, who is on vacation in Italy, will return overnight and hold a high-level meeting on the escalating riots on Tuesday, his office said in a brief statement.

For the first time since the violence began on Saturday evening, disturbances have been reported outside London.

Police in Birmingham said they confronted a crowd of 200 youths who had smashed shop windows in the city center, and in the town of Croydon, police were facing a violent crowd in the town center.

Eyewitness accounts from the east London district of Hackney said that cars and vans had been burnt, shops looted and torched and that police in riot gear were fighting with rioters in the center of the district.

London was hit by rioting, looting and arson after police shot and killed Mark Duggan, aged 29, as they tried to arrest him on Thursday evening.

A protest on Saturday evening in the Tottenham area of north London, where the shooting took place, became violent and rioters looted shops in the area and burnt two police cars, a bus and several shops and private homes.

Sunday evening saw an outbreak of copycat rioting in east and north London and some violence in the central shopping district of Oxford Street.

Police said they had expected violence on Monday evening after monitoring social network sites. As a result, shops in Hackney were closed early and police moved into the area.

There was also a more visible police presence on the streets of many of the city's districts. London mayor Boris Johnson has also cut short his holiday because of the seriousness of the rioting and will return to London on Tuesday.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Home Secretary Theresa May had both returned to their jobs after holidays on Monday. Both condemned the outbreaks of violence.

Clegg said "Earlier this afternoon I saw for myself the loss and devastation caused by mindless destruction in Tottenham. But, more than anything - more than the smashed-up buildings, the empty shops,the sight of so many police on the streets - I was struck by the determination of local people to stand together against the violence."

May said, "I think this is about sheer criminality. That is what we have seen on the streets. The violence we've seen, the looting we've seen, the thuggery we've seen - this is sheer criminality."

"That's why I say that these people will be brought to justice, they will be made to face the consequences of their actions."

Meanwhile, local media quoted police as saying that a police marksman had fired two shots when Duggan was killed and that he had not fired any weapon in return. This contradicts some earlier media reports which said that a bullet, possibly fired by Duggan, had been found lodged in the radio worn by a policeman at the scene.

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