Tottenham, N. London: Street Violence Erupts After Gunman Is Shot Dead By Police

7 Aug

NEWS UPDATE:

LONDON (AP) — The gritty north London neighborhood of Tottenham exploded in anger Saturday night after a young man was shot to death by police.Two patrol cars, a building and a double-decker bus were torched as rioters clashed with officers in front of the Tottenham Police Station, where people had gathered to demand “justice” for the death of a 29-year-old killed in an apparent gunfight. 

Click photo to view more images. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)Click  Click on photo to view more images. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)

“It’s really bad,” said local resident David Akinsanya, 46. “There are two police cars on fire. I’m feeling unsafe.”

Sirens could be heard across the city as authorities rushed reinforcements to the scene. In Tottenham shop windows were smashed as residents looted the stores, pushing shopping carts full of stolen goods down the street.

Officers in riot gear and on horseback pushed up against the demonstrators. Akinsanya put the number of demonstrators at between 400 and 500. Police said there were about 300 people gathered.

Miles from the tourist hotspots of central London, Tottenham is one of the most deprived areas in all of England, with nearly half of all children living in poverty, according to campaigners.

In 1985, Tottenham was the scene of a deadly riot after a local woman suffered heart failure when her home was raided by the police. The Tottenham riots were among the most violent in the country’s history, with one officer stabbed to death as he tried to protect firefighters and nearly 60 others were hospitalized.

A shop and police car burn as riot police try to contain a large group of people on a main road in Tottenham, north London on August 6, 2011Enlarge Photo

A shop and police car burn as riot police try to contain a large group of people …

A shop burns on a main road in Tottenham, London. Under a hail of missiles, riot officers and mounted police battled to regain control of the streets as fire crews rushed to tackle the burning buildingEnlarge Photo

A shop burns on a main road in Tottenham, London. Under a hail of missiles, riot …

British police battled to restore order Sunday as rioters went on the rampage in north London, torching police cars, vans, a bus and buildings amid widespread looting.

The unrest, which broke out in Tottenham just before sunset Saturday, followed a protest over the fatal shooting of a man during an apparent exchange of gunfire with police officers.

The patrol cars and the double-decker bus were set ablaze as hundreds ran amok outside the police station on Tottenham High Road. There was concern that the unrest was being fueled by inflammatory posts on Twitter.

Under a hail of missiles, riot officers and mounted police battled to regain control of the streets as fire crews rushed to tackle the burning building.

Rioters kicked in windows on the High Road as shops were looted, with people seen pushing away shopping trolleys full of stolen goods.

The trouble spread to surrounding residential streets, where vans were also torched.

Central London has seen student and trade union protests turn ugly in recent months but this outbreak of rioting is the worst seen in years in the suburbs.

The unrest followed a peaceful march to the police station in Tottenham in protest over the shooting dead of a minicab passenger by police on Thursday in an apparent exchange of gunfire.

Mark Duggan, 29, a father-of-four, died at the scene.

An officer may have had a lucky escape in the incident — a police radio was found to have a bullet lodged in it.

Police said that two patrol cars were torched as they were pelted with bottles, one of them being pushed into the middle of the High Road before being set ablaze.

Riot squad officers were then deployed to try to keep people back from the police station before the bus was torched and the shop set alight.

Local resident David Akinsanya told BBC television he was feeling “unsafe”.

“It’s really bad,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of anger in Tottenham tonight.”

Tottenham is an ethnically-diverse urban area best known for its English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs beat Spain’s Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in a friendly earlier in the evening.

One eyewitness said very few people around the High Road were obvious fans, with most not wearing football colours and masking their identity with hoods.

Saturday’s unrest occurred following a protest march to the police station from Broadwater Farm, a 1960s public housing estate in Tottenham.

The estate is notorious in Britain for the 1985 riot which saw Police Constable Keith Blakelock hacked to death in some of the worst urban rioting in Britain in the past 30 years.

David Lammy, the member of parliament for Tottenham, appealed for calm Sunday.

“Those who remember the destructive conflicts of the past will be determined not to go back to them,” he said.

“We already have one grieving family in our community and further violence will not heal that pain. True justice can only follow a thorough investigation of the facts.

“The Tottenham community and Mark Duggan’s family and friends need to understand what happened on Thursday evening when Mark lost his life. To understand those facts, we must have calm.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigates all police shootings — regular British police officers do not carry guns — said that specialist firearms officers stopped a minicab on Thursday to carry out a pre-planned arrest.

They were accompanied by officers from Trident, the unit focused on tackling gun crime in the black community.

“Shots were fired and a 29-year-old man, who was a passenger in the cab, died at the scene,” the IPCC said.

It is believed that a firearms officer fired two shots. A non-police issue handgun was also recovered at the scene.

“An officer’s radio which appears to have a bullet lodged in it has also been recovered.”

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne appealed for witnesses.

“Fatal shootings by the police are extremely rare and understandably raise significant community concerns,” she said.

“I fully recognise how distressing and disturbing this must be for the family and the local community.”

A spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Where there are real concerns in the community it is right that there is a proper investigation.

“The incident which led to the violent scenes in Tottenham this evening are the subject of an IPCC inquiry.

“Violence and destruction of property will do nothing to facilitate this investigation and we urge those involved to respect the rule of law.”

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Watch news footage of the rioting

Petrol bombs were thrown, shops looted and eight officers injured during violent riots in Tottenham following a protest over the fatal shooting of a man by police.

A crowd of around 300 set fire to buildings, bins and vehicles, while missiles and petrol bombs were thrown in Tottenham High Road on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

Eight police officers were taken to hospital and at least one suffered head injuries.

By the early hours of Sunday, many protesters had moved to nearby Tottenham Hale retail park, where some were spotted looting PC World and JJB Sports.

Sky’s Simon Newton, in Tottenham, said he saw youths wheeling out televisions and bagfuls of clothes, but that police were not at the scene.

Around 120 people had earlier staged a vigil for shot man Mark Duggan, marching from the local Broadwater Farm area to Tottenham police station. 

The 29-year-old father-of-four died at the scene on Thursday.

Violence escalated shortly after dark, when protesters set fire to two police cars and a double decker bus.

The cars, which were parked around 200 yards from the police station, were set upon shortly after dark.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Missiles were thrown at them. One was set alight and one was pushed into the middle of the High Road.”

A branch of Aldi supermarket was also set on fire, and reports indicated looters had targeted JJB Sports.

There were also unconfirmed reports that rioting and looting had spread to nearby Wood Green.

The Met have opened their Gold Command Control centre, in south London – normally only used for major incidents, such as the Royal wedding and the student protests.

Sky home affairs correspondent Mark White said: “This is a significant move for the police.

“This control centre is only ever activated for major public order events.

“It has to be a significant event for them to take the decision to move all their commanders down to this control room.

“There is a very real fear tonight that these localised disturbances do have the potential to spill out into other areas.”

Two vans were set alight near a block of residential flats just off the High Road, as the violence appeared to spread away from the initial disturbance.

Sky News was forced to withdraw camera crews from the area after being attacked in the early hours of the morning.

A family friend of Mr Duggan, who gave her name only as Nikki, 53, said the man’s friends and relatives had organised the protest because “something has to be done” and the marchers wanted “justice for the family.”

Some of those involved lay in the road to make their point, she said.

“They’re making their presence known because people are not happy,” she added.

“This guy was not violent. Yes, he was involved in things but he was not an aggressive person. He had never hurt anyone.”

Local MP David Lammy appealed for calm, saying in a statement on his website: “We already have one grieving family in our community and further violence will not heal that pain.

“True justice can only follow a thorough investigation of the facts.

“The Tottenham community and Mark Duggan’s family and friends need to understand what happened on Thursday evening when Mark lost his life. To understand those facts, we must have calm.”

Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne, of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), said in a statement: “I understand the distress that the shooting of Mark Duggan has caused to his family and in the community and that people need answers about what happened to him.”

She said the IPCC had supported 14 family members and friends in formally identifying Mr Duggan’s body, and would have further meetings with his family on Sunday.

“We are still gathering evidence and will release further details about our progress with the investigation as soon as we can.”

———-

Violence erupted in Tottenham in north London last night as tempers flared over the shooting of a 29-year-old father-of-four by police.

 London - Paramedics treated 10 people

London – Paramedics treated 10 people

Street violence erupted in Tottenham in north London last night.

Petrol bombs were thrown at police and at patrol cars and a double-decker bus and numerous shops were set on fire.

The riot erupted following a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old father-of-four by police on Thursday.

Eight police officers have been admitted to hospital, with one having suffered head injuries.

Trouble flared after members of the community took to the streets last night to demand ‘justice’, after Mark Duggan was shot dead by police on Thursday.

Fire engines descended on the area and thunderflashes were thrown at police on horseback.

After sections of Tottenham High Road were cleared of protesters, ‘pockets of trouble’ continued to flare in nearby areas, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

There were also reports of looting in Tottenham Hale Retail Park.

A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service said paramedics had treated 10 people, and nine were taken to hospital.

A family friend of Mr Duggan, who gave her name only as Nikki, 53, said the man’s friends and relatives had organised the protest because ‘something has to be done’ and the marchers wanted ‘justice for the family’.

Some of those involved lay in the road to make their point, she said.

‘They’re making their presence known because people are not happy,’ she added. ‘This guy was not violent. Yes, he was involved in things but he was not an aggressive person. He had never hurt anyone.’

Commander Stephen Watson of the Metropolitan Police stressed that ‘a significant number of police officers’ had been deployed to the scene, telling BBC News: ‘Our people are very well trained and led. We are exercising contingency plans which are well rehearsed.’

He added: ‘Our intention is to restore calm and normality to the area as soon as possible.’

He said there would be arrests for criminal offences, but that they came second to preserving public safety.

Last night’s troubles evoked memories of 1985, when a police officer, PC Keith Blakelock, was hacked to death following a riot in Broadwater Farm, where the marchers set off yesterday.

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