London calmer as UK riots move north in fourth night | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 10.08.2011
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London calmer as UK riots move north in fourth night

The emergency overnight deployment of 16,000 police officers helped maintain the peace in London after three nights of severe riots. But the unrest spread north to the Greater Manchester area, Liverpool and the Midlands.

British Prime Minister David Cameron outside 10 Downing Street in London

Over 1,000 youths took part in unrest in Greater Manchester

An extra 10,000 police officers were drafted into the British capital on Tuesday to stave off a fourth night of rioting and looting in London. For the most part, the emergency strategy was successful, but there were scenes of violence and unrest in other British cities, most notably the Greater Manchester area.

Groups of youths clashed with police in Manchester and Salford, Greater Manchester, torching cars and buildings and sometimes throwing bricks at riot officers. Manchester's Arndale shopping center was a major target of the looters.

"We will not allow such mindless criminal damage and wanton violence to go unpunished and we will arrest and prosecute anyone found to be involved in looting or acts of criminal damage," Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said.

Around 50 youths had been arrested in the city in north-west England by late Tuesday. A further 80 people were arrested in the Birmingham area in central England as reports emerged of looting and arson in the neighboring towns of West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

In Nottingham, police said no one was injured after a group of 30 to 40 males firebombed a police station.

First casualty

A riot police officer with a baton and shield

Police have been criticized for their handling of recent unrest

The three days of riots in London also claimed their first fatality Tuesday when a man died from his injuries after being shot in the southern area of Croydon.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a family holiday in Tuscany to respond to the unrest. On Tuesday, Cameron chaired a meeting of Britain's emergency response committee, COBRA, and told reporters that Parliament would be recalled for a day on Thursday in order to address the riots. The COBRA committee was also set to reconvene for another meeting later on Wednesday.

Cameron's decision to boost police numbers in London from Monday's figure of 6,000 to 16,000 on Tuesday night brought relative calm to the capital, despite the continued copycat unrest elsewhere.

"People should be in no doubt that we will do everything necessary to restore order to the streets and to make them safe for the law abiding," Cameron said on Tuesday.

Future unclear

Meanwhile, an independent police watchdog said there was no evidence that Mark Duggan, the 29-year-old man whose death at the hands of police last Thursday sparked the riots, had fired a gun at officers.

A policeman and damaged shopfronts

Shop have been targeted by the rioters since the violence flared on Saturday

"At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident," said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in an update on the shooting in Tottenham, north London.

London police said a total of 685 people had been arrested in the capital and 111 charged since the rioting began on Saturday.

Police have been criticized for their handling of recent incidents of unrest, after student and trade union protests in November and March also turned violent.

The chaotic scenes have also raised questions about London's readiness to host the 2012 Olympic Games. The Football Association cancelled an international soccer friendly scheduled to be played against the Netherlands at Wembley Arena on Wednesday.

Author: Mark Hallam, Sarah Harman, Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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