BREAKING NEWS: London Looting Spreads To East & South Of Capital Following Tottenham Riots

8 Aug

NEWS UPDATE:

Arrests made

Arrests made

Additional police resources

Additional police resources

Possible 'copycat' looting

Possible ‘copycat’ looting

Worst disturbances in years

Worst disturbances in years

Riot police guard electronics store

Riot police guard electronics store

New disturbances reported in London

London police have launched a ‘major investigation’ into the city’s worst rioting in years after violence sparked by the death of a local man in a police shooting raged earlier this morning.

Thousands looted a giant electrical retail store in the southern area of Brixton in the early hours of this morning and gangs of youths pelted police with missiles, AFP correspondents reported.

Scotland Yard said ‘copycat’ looting had spread to a number of boroughs in the capital’s north, east and south, while a mob of around 50 youths damaged property in Oxford Circus, at the heart of the city’s tourist area.

Several arrests were made after youths vandalised a police car and smashed windows in Enfield, a north London suburb three miles from Tottenham, the area at the heart of the previous night’s disturbances.

Additional police resources were deployed in the volatile neighbourhoods with three officers requiring hospital treatment after being hit by a car.

Commander Christine Jones said: ‘This is a challenging situation with small pockets of violence, looting and disorder breaking out on a number of boroughs.’

In the first night of violence, homes were torched, two police cars and a double-decker bus torched and shops looted late Saturday in Tottenham, conjuring memories of 1985 riots in the same area and dampening the mood in a city hosting the Olympic Games in a year.

Police said 26 of its officers were hurt, while three members of the public also needed treatment following the surprise violence. By Sunday, all the injured police officers had been discharged from hospital.

A total of 55 arrests were made after Saturday’s riots.

British prime minister David Cameron’s office described the violence as ‘utterly unacceptable’.

Metropolitan police announced that officers working on the Operation Withern probe would interview witnesses and review hours of CCTV footage to locate the Tottenham rioters.

The violence followed a protest over the death of a 29-year-old man last Thursday during an apparent exchange of gunfire with police.

The killing of Mark Duggan, a father-of-four, was ‘absolutely regrettable,’ police commander Adrian Hanstock said in a statement, adding that an investigation into the shooting was underway.

According to the Guardian newspaper, initial ballistics tests on a bullet which was found lodged in a police officer’s radio when Duggan was shot revealed it was a police issue bullet, raising doubts over the early explanation of events.

Mr Duggan’s brother Shaun Hall called for peace.

‘I know people are frustrated, they’re angry out there at the moment, but I would say please try and hold it down. Please don’t make this about my brother’s life, he was a good man,’ he told Sky News television.

Staff at the looted Curry’s electrical store in Tottenham told AFP that the thieves had immediately headed to the security rooms and deactivated the cameras, suggesting professional gangs had flocked to the area.

London has seen student and trade union protests turn ugly in the last 12 months but this outbreak of rioting was the worst seen for years away from the capital’s centre.

One witness said Saturday’s scene resembled the Blitz, or when parts of London burned following German bombing in World War II.

‘So many people have lost everything. It’s just crazy. It looks like it’s the Second World War. It looks like the Blitz where we were living,’ Tottenham resident Stuart Radose told Sky News television.

Mr Duggan was killed when specialist firearms officers stopped a minicab in which he was travelling to carry out a pre-planned arrest.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which investigates all police shootings, said they were accompanied by officers from Trident, the unit focused on tackling gun crime in the black community.

The march against Mr Duggan’s death began at Broadwater Farm, a 1960s public housing estate in Tottenham that is notorious across Britain.

In 1985, police constable Keith Blakelock was hacked to death on the estate in some of the worst urban rioting in Britain during the past 30 years.

—————–

Looting has spread further across east and south London following weekend rioting in Tottenham.

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Video: Arrests In Enfield Amid Looting And Violence 

Reports have emerged of stores in Brixton, south London, being targeted by looters.

The London Fire Brigade confirmed six units were sent to fight a fire in Brixton Road, believed to be in a Foot Locker store.

Other stores attacked by mobs, described by police as “small and mobile groups,” included Currys, Halfords and Body Shop.

Numerous people were seen carrying away looted goods, including boxed widescreen television sets.

One Brixton resident told Sky News: “We are watching hundreds of people walking up the street (Effra Road) with boxes of stuff, there is shouting and police helicopters but no sign of police.”

A mobile phone shop and sports store in nearby Streatham were also reportedly looted, with specialist firearms officers used to make some arrests.

Sporadic and widespread disturbances also hit north and east London.

Areas attacked included Turnpike Lane, Walthamstow, Chingford and Leyton, where a number of shops were vandalised and broken into.

Three police officers were taken to hospital after being hit by a fast-moving vehicle at 12.45am, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

The officers had been in the process of making arrests in Chingford Mount, Waltham Forest, after a shop was looted by youths.

Police described the spreading disorder as “copycat criminal activity.”

Commander Christine Jones, said: “This is a challenging situation with small pockets of violence, looting and disorder breaking out on a number of boroughs.

“We have deployed units across London and continue to move quickly to deal with any reports of criminality as soon as possible.

“Officers are once again putting themselves in harm’s way to arrest those responsible and prevent further crimes. I am proud of their dedication and bravery.

“I, along with the vast majority of Londoners, condemn this mindless criminality. It serves no purpose and only results in the destruction people’s livelihoods and communities.”

The spreading of violence comes after youths clashed with police officers in Enfield earlier on Sunday evening , where officers deployed dog units to push back groups of people.

The widespread unrest in the capital comes after mass rioting in Tottenham, north London, on Saturday night which saw dozens of people arrested and more than 25 police officers injured.

The rioting occurred after a peaceful protest was held in response to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, after the 29-year-old father-of-four died on Thursday after he was shot by police.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the incident is under way.

NEWS UPDATE:

A burned bus is seen in Tottenham, north London, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011 after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. One police officer was hospitalized and seven others were injured during riots after a north London suburb exploded in anger Saturday night following a gathering to protest the Thursday shooting by police of the 29-year-old. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)

A burned bus is seen in Tottenham, north London, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011 after a demonstration …

Firefighters look at a burned-out building in Tottenham, north London, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. One police officer was hospitalized and seven others were injured during riots after a north London suburb exploded in anger Saturday night following a gathering to protest the Thursday shooting by police of the 29-year-old. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)

Firefighters look at a burned-out building in Tottenham, north London, Sunday, Aug. …

LONDON (AP) — New unrest erupted on north London’s streets late Sunday, a day after rioting and looting in a deprived area amid community anger over a fatal police shooting.

Police deployed extra officers on London’s streets to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s violence in north London’s Tottenham area, which appeared to be quiet Sunday night.

But disturbances broke out in Enfield, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Tottenham. TV footage showed riot and mounted police patrolling the streets, and there were also images of smashed shop windows, and police with dogs detaining at least one man.

A peaceful protest against the killing of a 29-year-old man in Tottenham degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall in the nearby Wood Green district.

In Enfield, there were reports that a police car was vandalized, and Sky News television reported that several hundred young people were on the streets causing trouble, with footage showing a looted pharmacy.

“We do have extra resources out tonight on duty across the capital,” police commander Christine Jones said. “We are carefully monitoring any intelligence and ensuring we have our resources in the right places. No one wants to see a repeat of the scenes that we witnessed last night in Tottenham.”

In Saturday’s violence, several buildings were set ablaze. TV footage showed the double-decker bus in a fireball and mounted police charging through the streets trying to restore order. Police said 26 officers received injuries, most if not all apparently minor, and made 55 arrests, including four Sunday. The majority of arrests were for burglary; other offenses included violent disorder, robbery, theft and handling of stolen goods.

London’s fire department said it dealt with 49 “primary” fires in Tottenham. No firefighters were injured.

Social networking websites swirled with rumors of other riots beginning or being planned in other areas of the city, but police warned the public not to trust everything they saw on the Internet — adding that officers were keeping a close eye on what was being said online as well.

The violence has cast a pall over a city preparing to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I hope people will have a fantastic Olympics no matter what happened last night,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a telephone interview with BBC television, trying to assure the world his city was safe.

Others weren’t so sure, suggesting that the riots had exposed incipient tensions at a time of sharp public sector cutbacks and economic uncertainty.

“This is just a glimpse into the abyss,” former Metropolitan Police Commander John O’Connor told Sky News. “Someone’s pulled the clock back and you can look and see what’s beneath the surface. And what with the Olympic Games coming up, this doesn’t bode very well for London.”

The protest against the death of Mark Duggan, a father of four who was gunned down in disputed circumstances Thursday, was initially peaceful. But it got ugly as between 300 and 500 people gathered around Tottenham’s police station. Some protesters filled bottles with gasoline to throw at police lines, others confronted officers with makeshift weapons — including baseball bats and bars — and attempted to storm the station.

Within hours, police in riot gear and on horseback were clashing with hundreds of rioters, fires were raging out of control, and looters combed the area. One video posted to the Guardian newspaper’s website showed looting even carried on into the following day, with people even lining up to steal from one store just after dawn.

The devastated area smoldered Sunday — in Tottenham, streets were littered with bricks and lined with overturned scorched trash cans. Two police helicopters hovered over the burnt-out buildings as residents inspected the damage and firefighters doused the last of the flames. Glaziers were busy replacing the smashed windows of looted shops.

Very few details of Duggan’s death have been released, although police said initially that an officer was briefly hospitalized after the shooting — suggesting there was some kind of an exchange of fire. Media reports said a bullet had been found lodged in the officer’s police radio.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating Duggan’s shooting, provided more details in a statement Sunday night, saying a “non-police firearm” was recovered at the scene.

“The IPCC awaits further forensic analysis to enable us to have a fuller and more comprehensive account of what shots were discharged, the sequence of events and what exactly happened,” the commission said in a statement. “In the meantime, we would request people are patient while we seek to find answers to the questions raised by this incident.

Duggan’s family rejected any suggestion that he had fired at officers. His brother, Shaun Hall, said his sibling would never attack police.

“That’s ridiculous,” he told Sky News television. As for the rioting, he condemned it.

“There was a domino effect, which we don’t condone at all,” he said.

Local lawmaker David Lammy, speaking to residents from behind police tape earlier in the day, said that Duggan’s shooting “raised huge questions and we need answers,” but he warned against renewed violence.

“The response to that is not to loot and rob,” he said. “This must stop.”

Tottenham has a history of unrest. It was the site of the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots, a series of clashes that led to the savaging stabbing of a police officer and the wounding of nearly 60 others — brutally underscoring tensions between London’s police and the capital’s black community.

Relations have improved since, but mistrust still lingers.

___

Juergen Baetz, Jill Lawless and Frank Griffiths contributed to this report.

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