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Rediff.com  » News » Gang violence scorches Britain, 3 Asians killed

Gang violence scorches Britain, 3 Asians killed

Last updated on: August 10, 2011 18:31 IST

Gang violence scorches Britain

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Three British Asians became the latest victims of Britain's ongoing unrest, as the country simmered under one of its worst waves of violence, with 'copycat' riots spreading from London to central and northern cities, where hooded youths ransacked stores and torched cars.

Though a massive police presence ensured that London remained calm after three nights of violence, the unrest spread to cities of Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham.

As vigilante groups emerged in Asian-dominated places to protect neighbourhoods, gurdwaras and mosques, three young men of Asian-origin were knocked down by a car as they were trying to guard their communities in Birmingham.

Police on Wednesday said they were treating the deaths as murder.


Image: Hundreds of messages of support from the community of Peckham are seen posted on a looted storefront in south London
Photographs: Chris Helgren/Reuters
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Fight-back is underway: Cameron

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After chairing another emergency response committee meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron said a "fight-back is underway" but blamed the spike in violence on moral decadence and "complete lack of responsibility" in pockets of society.

Cameron said the "appalling" violence had continued overnight and had claimed three lives in Birmingham where police was trying to get to the bottom of the incident.

"This continued violence is simply not acceptable, and it will be stopped. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets. We needed a fight-back and a fight-back is underway," he told reporters outside 10, Downing Street.

He said full contingency planning was going on and water cannons will also be made available to the police if needed.

He added, "There are parts of our society that are not just broken but frankly sick. When we see children of 12 or 13 looting it's clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society".


Image: Forensics officers inspect the scene where three men were killed by a car in Winson Green area of Birmingham, central England
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters
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Three Asians mowed down by cars

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Though calm prevailed in London, where 16,000 police personnel patrolled the streets, other major cities of Britain witnessed raging gang violence.

Rioters broke into stores and ran off with electronic and leather goods, bikes, sports shoes, branded clothes and jewellery with virtually no resistance from the police and security personnel.

In central Nottingham, the Canning Circus police station was firebombed by a gang on Tuesday evening, while in Liverpool, the Merseyside Police arrested 50 people for disorder in the city.

In Birmingham, three Asians -- two brothers, Shahzad and Harry Hussain -- and their friend Musaver Ali, were run over by a speeding car.

The three had emerged from a mosque and were on the streets protecting their car wash company after the previous night's violence when the incident happened. Their country of origin was not immediately known.

Image: A woman reacts at the scene where three men were killed by a car in Winson Green area of Birmingham, central England
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters
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'The car swerved towards them'

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A police spokesman said, "They were not in the way or blocking the road. The car swerved towards them. They went flying up in the air".

Murray McGregor, a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said members of the public were attempting resuscitation on the men when the ambulance arrived, but it quickly became apparent they had all suffered 'significant injuries'.

A 26-year old man, who died after being shot in a car during riots in Croydon, was the first victim of the riots.

The riots were initially sparked by the killing of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in police firing last week.


Image: Police officers speak to men at Winson Green area of Birmingham, central England
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters
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700 Sikhs take to the streets

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In Gloucester, nine people were arrested after police officers came under attack from youths throwing stones and bottles.

In Leicester, a group of up to 100 youths attacked shops and threw items at the police.

In London, armed with swords and hockey sticks, over 700 Sikhs took to the streets on Tuesday night to protect the Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Southall.

Local vigilante groups have been formed in various areas in London to protect homes and business establishments that have been vandalised by rioters -- mainly of Afro-Caribbean origin -- over the past four days.


Image: A shoe hangs in the smashed window of the Nike store in Manchester, northern England
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters
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16,000 policemen deployed on London streets

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Cameron said he would make a statement in the Parliament on Thursday as it meets for a day-long session to discuss the conflagration that has blighted Britain's image and raised questions over the security for next year's Olympics.

In London, where increased police presence brought back calm, a Downing Street spokesperson said heavy police deployment and tough police tactics on Tuesday night had clearly worked.

"There's a will to continue with that level of policing for as long as is needed," he said.

The strength of police in London was increased from 6,000 to 16,000 with orders to deal with any incidence of rioting and violence in a tough manner.


Image: A youth looks at hundreds of messages of support from the community of Peckham posted on a looted storefront in southeast London
Photographs: Chris Helgren/Reuters
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770 arrested for violence

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London has worn a deserted look from Tuesday evening, with offices and shops closed earlier than usual.

A total of 770 people have been arrested and 167 charged, with 81 held on Tuesday night.

There were indications that the government will reverse its decision to cut the police budget that would have meant lower number of police officers on the streets of London.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said, "This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers." 


Image: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street in London
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
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