London calm, violence grips other British cities (Second Lead)

August 10th, 2011 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Aug 10 (IANS) London was largely peaceful Wednesday after witnessing over four days of violence but arson spread to other British cities where hooded youths stalked the streets. Prime Minister David Cameron said that “fightback is under way” and 750 people have been arrested.

Violence broke out in various cities across Britain, although London remained largely calm following a heavy police presence. As many as 16,000 police officers were deployed in London city alone, nearly 10,000 more than Monday.

There was unrest in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham, reported BBC.

Cameron promised to give the police whatever they need to tackle rioting.

Speaking after chairing the government’s second emergency Cobra meeting, he said: “We needed a fightback, and a fightback is under way.”

“We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain - the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations,” Sky News quoted him as saying.

Cameron said 750 people had been arrested since Saturday, the day when the violence first broke out in the British capital.

Calling the situation “sick”, the prime minister said: “When we see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of a young man with people pretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear that there are things badly wrong with our society.”

Violence began Saturday in the British capital’s northern district of Tottenham over the fatal shooting of a man by police.

Some 300 people gathered outside a police station in Tottenham Aug 6 to demand “justice” after 29-year-old cab driver and alleged drug dealer Mark Duggan was killed in a shootout Aug 4 with the police.

The spiralling violence has left Britons angry and upset.

London Mayor Boris Johnson was confronted by a businesswoman for failing to protect the people.

Onelia Giarratano’s hair salon in Clapham Junction was targetted by the rioters and she compared the violence to “a war movie”.

She told Johnson: “A brick came through the window and no one was here to defend me.”

“We were in complete shock. They were mocking us from outside. We were left completely terrified,” Daily Mail quoted her as saying.

The Guardian reported that Central Manchester and Salford saw looting and disorder after gangs battled police and ransacked shops. There was also trouble in Birmingham and elsewhere in the West Midlands.

The city of Manchester saw major disturbances with groups of young people evading police attempts to stop them and then breaking into a series of upmarket shops and setting a branch of a clothing chain ablaze.

The violence ebbed in Manchester city centre around midnight and police regained control.

Over a million strong Indian community was on the guard as the violence worsened.

Sikhs were determined to protect their gurdwaras.

“The rioting started yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and shops were looted and cars were set on fire. It continued through the night,” said Dya Singh, president of Guru Har Rai Gurdwara Sahib, in West Bromwich town in the West Midlands, England.

“We have 24-hour security duty at the gurdwara,” he told IANS.

In Southall, West London, over 700 Sikh men, some with swords, some carrying hockey sticks, stood guard outside their gurdwara.

Talking about the rioting, Garry Shewan, a police official of Greater Manchester police, said Manchester and Salford had been badly damaged.

“These are pure and simple criminals running wild,” Shewan was quoted as saying.

“They have nothing to protest against. There has been no spark. This has been senseless on a scale I have never witnessed before in my career.”

Masked gangs in central Manchester’s New Cathedral Street targeted a series of high-end outlets, among them Louis Vuitton, and Selfridges.

In central Birmingham, a mob of up to 300 youths gathered attacking shops.

Despite the unrest, people were determined to get on with their lives.

In the London borough of Hackney, 200 locals joined hands for a two-minute silence. They were armed with brooms so that they could clean up.

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