Police, youths face off in London

2011-08-08 22:20

London - Riot police faced off with youths in fresh violence in London on Monday in the third day of disorder after some of the worst rioting in the British capital in years at the weekend.

Scores of young people gathered in a main street in the eastern district of Hackney, smashing up buildings and breaking into a truck that became stranded in the middle of the road, pulling out its contents, pictures showed.

Several parked cars were torched before police in riot gear arrived to push back the youths, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The violence threatened to spread out of the capital with reports that police in the central English city of Birmingham were struggling to contain a large group of youths who had earlier smashed several shop windows.

The trouble in Hackney began when police tried to carry out a stop and search operation, the BBC said, citing reports, but a police spokesperson could not immediately confirm this.

Hackney is a few kilometres from Stratford in east London, where the 2012 Olympics will take place in a year's time.

Police were also called to Lewisham in south London, where a handful of cars were set alight and several shops looted.

People scrambling across rooftops

In nearby Peckham, a deprived area in the south of the capital, television pictures showed a business premises on fire, with flames threatening to spread to neighbouring properties. People were seen scrambling across the rooftops.

London fire brigade said they had sent six engines and 30 firefighters to tackle the blaze.

Nearby, youths also tried to set fire to a double-decker bus, which was left badly scorched.

The riots broke out in the north London district of Tottenham on Saturday night, following a protest against the death of a local man in a police shooting last week, and the violence spread to other parts of the city on Sunday.

The fire brigade received 264 emergency calls overnight on Saturday and attended 49 fires in the Tottenham area.

Overnight on Saturday, they dealt with 12 fires which damaged shops, vehicles and homes. Three fire engines were damaged in the violence.

"There is simply no excuse for this abhorrent behaviour which endangers the lives of firefighters and also the people they are trying to protect," said London fire and emergency planning authority leader Brian Coleman.

Police said they had made 215 arrests since the riots began. The youngest person arrested was an 11-year-old boy.

The districts worst hit by the violence - Tottenham, Brixton in south London, Hackney and Peckham - are multi-ethnic areas which have high rates of unemployment.

Read more on:    uk riots

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