London witnesses riots’ escalation

August 9th, 2011 - 4:52 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 9 (IANS) Violent incidents, fires and rioting were witnessed on the third consecutive day in London, with riot police deployed and firefighters making efforts to handle blazes at various places across the capital.

Cars were set on fire in Lewisham district and a bus and shop were set ablaze in Peckham. A large furniture shop in Croydon is also well alight, BBC reported late Monday night.

London’s emergency services were kept on full-scale alert as rioting, fires and pitched battles with police erupted around the city since late afternoon, the Guardian reported.

The Metropolitan police sent hundreds of extra officers on to the streets of London, as trouble flared in the north, south and east regions here.

Masked youths smashed up shops and threw missiles, planks of wood and wheelie bins at riot police in Hackney, east London.

Several abandoned vehicles were set alight. There were also violent scenes in Lewisham, south-east London, where petrol bombs were reportedly thrown at officers, and shops looted.

A bus was torched in nearby Peckham district, as police struggled to respond to the spread of sporadic violent incidents.

The unrest spread to outside London with West Midlands police confirming incidents of disorder in Birmingham city centre.

As Theresa May, the home secretary, broke off her holiday to return to London, the number of arrests from three consecutive nights of violence rose to 215, with 27 people charged.

London mayor Boris Johnson would be returning early from his holiday, it was announced.

Acting Metropolitan police commissioner Tim Godwin, said: “We need to separate grievance and criminality.”

After meeting Godwin, May said: “Those responsible for this violence and looting will be made to face the consequences of their actions… But as the police take statements from witnesses, as they look at CCTV evidence, more arrests will be made.”

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