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Rediff.com  » News » Pix: Tentative calm in London, trouble erupts in new towns

Pix: Tentative calm in London, trouble erupts in new towns

Last updated on: August 10, 2011 09:21 IST

Tentative calm in London, trouble erupts in new towns

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After a fourth consecutive night of violence that convulsed most parts of London, the scene before dawn Wednesday was largely calm, a tentative calm enforced by 16,000 policemen.

Rioting, however, spread to towns in the Midlands and Manchester blighting the David Cameron government's image and ability to hold the 2012 London Olympics safely.

In a rare decision, Cameron called an emergency day-long session of the parliament on Thursday to discuss the situation and steps to defuse the crisis following three days of "sickening" rioting on the streets of London. So far, 563 people have been arrested and 105 charged in connection with violence in the capital.

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Image: Police disperse rioters in Birmingham City Centre
Photographs: J Mitchell/Getty Images
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As riots prompted questions inside and outside Britain about London's ability to hold the 2012 Olympics, Home Secretary Theresa May said the security plans for the mega sporting event will be reviewed.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard said a 26-year-old man shot in a car during riots in Croydon has died in hospital, becoming the second victim after 29-year-old Mark Duggan, whose death in police firing on Thursday had sparked the riots.

Reports reaching London on Tuesday evening said 'copycat' violence erupted on a relatively smaller scale in West Bromwich, Manchester, Salford and Wolverhampton.

Image: A clothing store is seen ablaze in Manchester city centre, northern England
Photographs: Reuters
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Tentative calm in London, trouble erupts in new towns

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Cameron vowed to unleash the full force of law on "thugs" and ordered the deployment of 16,000 police personnel in riot-hit areas to maintain law and order.

A special session of the House of Commons has been called on Thursday to discuss the situation that has taken politicians and majority of the public by surprise.

Most streets of London wore a deserted look as offices and shops closed early to avoid being caught up in trouble on the fourth consecutive night of rioting.


Image: A rioter walks through a burning barricade in Liverpool
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters
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Tentative calm in London, trouble erupts in new towns

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Talking tough, the prime minister, who rushed home after cutting short his vacation in Italy, said the culprits will be brought to bear the consequences of their actions and the government was determined to see that justice is delivered to the law abiding citizens.

"People should be in no doubt that we'll do everything necessary to restore order to British streets, and to make them safe for the law abiding," Cameron said making a statement after chairing a meeting of government's emergency response committee.

"And I have this very clear message to those people who are responsible for this wrongdoing and criminality: you will feel the full force of the law and if you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face punishment".

Image: Looters carry boxes out of a home cinema shop in central Birmingham
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters
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The West Midlands police were dealing with sporadic disorder in Wolverhampton, while youths had smashed shop windows and set cars alight in nearby West Bromwich.

Riot police were also surrounding Birmingham's Mailbox high-end shopping building.

The prime minister termed the scenes witnessed on the streets of London and elsewhere as "appalling" and driven by "criminality" and admitted that more police presence and more robust police action was required.

The Greater Manchester Police were involved in a standoff with 70 to 80 young people in Salford, where a building was set alight, while a Miss Selfridge store was reportedly set on fire in the Manchester city centre.

Image: Police walk past a burning car during riots
Photographs: J Mitchell/Getty Images
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Cameron will chair another meeting of the government's emergency committee on Wednesday to review the situation developing overnight, Downing Street said.

Rioting and looting that started on Saturday, sparked by Thursday night's death of Duggan, spread across London, and also flared up in the central city of Birmingham, the western city of Bristol and the northwestern city of Liverpool.

Three people are being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a police officer was injured by a car in Wembley, north-west London, while trying to stop suspected looters.

Cameron said many more people responsible for the violence are certain to be rounded up in the coming days, as he took charge of the uneasy situation that has blighted Britain's image across the world after 72 hours of looting and rioting.

The police have announced that if required, they will use rubber bullets to deal with the situation.

Image: Smoke continues to rise from a Sony Warehouse which was destroyed by arsonists in Enfield in north London
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
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No major incidents were reported in London today, but Greenwich joined Hackney, Ealing and Camberwell on the list of possible targets for tonight. In many areas, shops and offices were closed earlier than usual.

Cameron visited Croydon, which was the scene of a blaze in a century-old furniture shop on Monday, apart from burning of cars and looting.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was heckled and told to "go home" during a visit to Birmingham, while London Mayor Boris Johnson was aggressively heckled in Clapham Junction in London.

In many areas in London, Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds, residents had started cleaning up operations, along with local officials.

Besides Cameron, Johnson and Labour leader Ed Miliband also cut short their holiday and returned to London on Tuesday.


Image: Prime Minister David Cameron talks to Acting Borough Commander Superintendent Jo Oakley during a visit to Croydon
Photographs: Getty Images
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