There have been more clashes in London following the weekend’s violence. Looting and skirmishes between youths and police have been reported in Hackney in the east of the UK’s capital.
Over the weekend shops were looted, and cars and buildings were set on fire in several parts of the city. More than 100 people were arrested and 35 police officers injured.
Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, has returned home from holiday for crisis talks with police, amid fears that London’s image is being seriously tarnished ahead of next year’s Olympic Games, due to be held in the city.
Police have branded the violence “copycat criminal activity”, Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg called it “opportunistic theft”.
The trouble began in Tottenham, sparked by local anger after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot dead during a police operation.
It then spread on Sunday and overnight to neighbouring areas, while there was more violence in central London and south of the Thames in Brixton. Shops were also attacked in central London, at Oxford Circus.
Brixton, like Tottenham in Haringey to the north, has witnessed riots in years gone by, often sparked by tension between police and predominantly black communities.
“I think people are right when people say what’s happening in Brixton is just a copycat of what happened in Haringey. But in terms of Haringey, let’s say Haringey is where it all started, we need to get questions answered about the death of Mark Duggan” said Kingsley Abrams, a local councillor in Lambeth which includes Brixton.
In Tottenham, community leaders say police disregarded the feelings of Mark Duggan’s family, fuelling local anger.
The circumstances of his death are unknown but the Independent Police Complaints Commission says a non-police gun was found at the scene.
Police and politicians say that event had no bearing on the widespread looting. One said some people were intent on trouble and jumped at the chance to steal a new pair of trainers.
Social media, especially Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is said to have been used to organise violence.