Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Capital Gripped by Third Day of Violence



By Ben Aulakh

London has been gripped by a third day of rioting which has seen shops looted and set on fire, cars and buses burned, and more than 334 people arrested.

The trouble began on Saturday afternoon after 300 people gathered outside a police station on Tottenham High Road, to protest at the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan by officers.

The gathering descended into violence after two police patrol cars were attacked; a number of bottles were thrown at the two cars before one was set alight; the other was pushed into the middle of the road before it too was set ablaze.

Shops on the High Road were also looted and torched, with people being seen using shopping trolleys to carry stolen goods away from the area.

A bus was also set on fire at the junction of High Road and Brook Street; a number of empty police patrol cars were also set on fire by rioters.

Police fought running battles with rioters who used lit bottles, wheelie bins, chunks of concrete and street signs as weapons, hurling them at police.

Commander Christine Jones of the Metropolitan Police said, “The violence we have seen is simply inexcusable, ordinary people have had their lives turned upside down by this mindless thuggery.

“The Met will ensure that those responsible will face the consequences of their actions and be arrested, anyone involved in criminality should be under no illusion that we will pursue you.”

“We have been making arrests all evening and have a team working during the night examining CCTV images.”

“We will follow up evidence in the coming days in order to bring anyone else responsible for criminal acts to justice."

There were also reports of troublemakers stealing knives and machetes which were used in attacks on officers, in an echo of the murder of PC Keith Blackelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985.

The trouble then subsequently spread to Enfield, Brixton, Hackney, Wood Green and Oxford Circus, as those involved used Blackberry’s, Facebook and Twitter to co-ordinate the trouble.

More than a dozen police officers were injured in the violence, with a number being taken to hospital for treatment.  

More than 1700 extra officers have been drafted in to the capital from forces in Thames Valley, Essex, Surrey, Kent, Northamptonshire, Hampshire, and the City of London, to deal with the escalation in violence and disorder.

A total of 334 people have so far been arrested; 69 of those have been cautioned and two have been charged.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said of the violence and disorder, “It’s utterly appalling; people have lost their homes, business and livelihoods through this mindless violence.”

Home Secretary Theresa May said, “Londoners have made it clear that there are no excuses for violence.”
“I call on all members of local communities to work constructively with the police to help them bring these criminals to justice.”

Tens of millions of pounds of damage have been caused across the city, with sports shops, mobile phone stores, supermarkets and other businesses set alight.

There were also reports of rioters attacking three fire crews attempting to put out some of the fires.

One of the worst incidents saw a 120-year-old furniture business torched in Croydon, with adjoining homes also evacuated.

Fire crews have reported that they have struggled to get to blazes as quickly as they would like, as they have had to wait for police crews to secure areas before being able to enter them.

In Hackney, police reported that around 250 -300 people gathered on the Pembury Estate, setting alight cars, throwing petrol bombs and looting businesses.

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