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Sunday, August 7, 2011

London riots set homes, shops ablaze; 48 arrested

Police in London are in the process of “restoring calm” to an area of the U.K. capital after rioting led to 26 officers being injured and 48 arrests.
Metropolitan Police officers faced “extreme violence” during the disturbances in Tottenham, in the north of the city, late yesterday in which vehicles and buildings were set on fire, Commander Adrian Hanstock said in a televised press conference today. London Fire Brigade said it received 264 emergency calls from the area during the riots.
Trouble flared after a peaceful protest by relatives and friends of a man shot dead during a police operation in the area last week was “hijacked by troublemakers,” Hanstock said.
“There was no indication that the protest would deteriorate into the levels of criminal and violent disorder that we saw,” Hanstock said. “We believe that certain elements, who were not involved with the vigil, took the opportunity to commit disorder and physically attack police officers, verbally abuse fire brigade personnel and destroy vehicles and buildings.”
He said the death of Mark Duggan, 29, was “regrettable” and will be subject to an independent investigation. “It is absolutely tragic that someone has died, but that does not give a criminal minority the right to destroy businesses and people’s livelihoods and steal from their local community.
Rioters threw petrol bombs at police and buildings, the British Broadcasting Corp. said. A bus and two police vehicles were set on fire and business were looted, it reported.
London Fire Brigade said in an e-mailed statement it attended 49 “primary” fires in the Tottenham area.
The rioting was “utterly unacceptable,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in an e-mailed statement. “There is no justification for the aggression the police and the public faced, or for the damage to property.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said “disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated, and the Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order.


Police said 26 of its officers were hurt, one with a head injury, while arrests were made following the violence in Tottenham, north London, late on Saturday, which sparked condemnation from Prime Minister David Cameron’s office.


“The rioting in Tottenham last night was utterly unacceptable,” a Downing Street spokesman said in a statement.


“There is no justification for the aggression the police and the public faced, or for the damage to property. There is now a police investigation into the rioting and we should let that process happen.”


Police on Sunday said they were still having to deal with “isolated pockets of criminality in the Tottenham area involving a small number of people.”


A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said all the fires were under control.


“We are still at the scene of some of them to damp them down and make sure everything is out,” he added.


The mayhem, which broke out in Tottenham just before sunset on Saturday, followed a protest over the death of a 29-year-old man last week during an apparent exchange of gunfire with police.


Thursday’s killing of Mark Duggan, a father-of-four, was “absolutely regrettable,” police commander Adrian Hanstock said in a statement, adding that an investigation into the shooting was underway.


“It is absolutely tragic that someone has died, but that does not give a criminal minority the right to destroy businesses and livelihoods and steal from their local community,” he said on Sunday.


“There was no indication that the protest would deteriorate into the levels of criminal and violent disorder that we saw,” Hanstock said.


The demonstration had been a peaceful rally outside the police station on Tottenham High Road before two police cars were attacked with petrol bombs and set ablaze.
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