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Man walking past a sign which indicates that shops are open for business
Shops were recoving after four nights of looting and arsonImage: Picture-Alliance/dpa

Calm on the streets

August 11, 2011

Relative calm has returned to England. Rain and a huge police operation are thought to have averted a fifth night of rioting. The prime minister was expected to face tough questions at an emergency session of Parliament.

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British cities enjoyed a night of relative quiet on Wednesday night in the wake of some of the worst rioting for a generation.

Bad weather and a boosted police presence are thought to have brought calm to some of the worst hit cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Courts in several cities remained open through the night to deal with hundreds of suspected rioters and looters. More than 1,100 people had been arrested so far and police were searching CCTV footage to identify further perpetrators.

Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a rare recall of parliament for an emergency meeting to debate the unrest on Thursday. Cameron was likely to face questions from the opposition Labour Party about Britain's tough austerity measures and cuts to police budgets which some blame for the violence.

"The scale of government cuts is making it harder for the police to do their jobs and keep us safe," said Yvette Cooper, Labour's home affairs spokeswoman.

Fighting back

British Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the media outside 10 Downing Street in London
David Cameron has condemned the violence as 'despicable'Image: dapd

Cameron has denied that the riots were a result of deep spending cuts. He told a news conference on Wednesday that the outbreak of looting and arson was linked to Britain's "big problem with gangs." He blamed opportunistic thugs and "sick" pockets of society.

"We needed a fightback, and a fightback is underway," Cameron added.

The rioting claimed four fatalities on Tuesday, when three men were killed by a speeding car in Birmingham and a man died in hospital in south London from a gunshot wound to the head.

A protest on Saturday over the death of a man who was shot by police in Tottenham, north London, sparked riots, which spread across the country days later.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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