London riots: disorder spreads to Manchester, West Midlands

August 10th, 2011 - 10:16 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 10 (IANS) The fourth day of rioting, looting and arson saw the trouble that started from London and engulfed various cities of Britain, also reaching central Manchester and Salford regions. However, the capital city remained largely peaceful.

Sporadic violence broke out in variuos cities across Britain, although London remained largely calm following a heavy police presence on the streets of the capital city Wednesday, BBC reported.

With 16,000 police officers deployed in London city alone, there was calm in streets after three consistent nights of rioting.

But there was unrest in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham with shops being looted and set alight.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameroon is recalling parliament over Monday night’s “sickening scenes”.

Forty seven people have been arrested so far over trouble in Manchester and Salford where crowds of youths have set fire to buildings and cars while 87 have been arrested over disorder which has broken out across the West Midlands, the report added.

Central Manchester and Salford witnessed serious looting and disorder after gangs waged running battles with police, ransacking dozens of shops. Similar, if less widespread, trouble flared in Birmingham and elsewhere in the West Midlands, The Guardian reported.

The most serious disorder was noticed in Manchester. Groups of young people evaded police attempts to stop them from the late afternoon onwards, breaking into a series of upmarket shops and setting a branch of the Miss Selfridge clothing chain ablaze.

Up to 200 youths raided an off-licence and other shops by evening in the main shopping precinct of Salford, a couple of miles to the west.

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

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester police said Manchester and Salford had been badly damaged. “These are pure and simple criminals running wild tonight,” Shewan said.

“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.”

Earlier in the day Greater Manchester police sent 100 officers - four public order units - to assist in London.

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

Labour MP Graham Stringer for Blackley and Broughton, which includes parts of both Salford and Manchester, was heavily critical of police for not being better prepared.

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

Riot police cornered 60 youths in part of Wolverhampton after five hours of sporadic violence that left the town centre empty of residents and visitors, with shops shuttered and pubs closing early.

West Midlands police said the force’s officers had been “managing” several groups of people causing trouble.

Canning Circus police station in central Nottingham was firebombed by a male gang Tuesday evening. In Liverpool, Merseyside Police have arrested 35 people in relation to disorder in the city.

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