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Sunday, 7 August 2011

40 people have been arrested after rioting in Tottenham, north London, saw police attacked and buildings looted during some of the worst violence seen in the capital for years.


14:57 | , ,

40 people have been arrested after rioting in Tottenham, north London, saw police attacked and buildings looted during some of the worst violence seen in the capital for years.

Rioters throwing petrol bombs rampaged overnight, setting police patrol cars, buildings and a double-decker bus on fire.

Police said 26 officers were injured as rioters bombarded them with missiles and bottles, looted buildings including banks, shops and council offices, and set alight three patrol cars near Tottenham police station in north London.

The riots erupted after a street protest over the fatal shooting of a man by armed officers this week turned violent.

Residents said they were forced to flee their homes to escape the trouble as mounted police and riot officers on foot charged the crowd to push rioters back.

The Metropolitan Police has today faced questions about how the trouble was allowed to escalate.

The disturbance was only finally brought under control early today after hours of sporadic clashes. Buildings were still smouldering, bricks littered the roads and burglar alarms continued to ring out.

At a nearby retail park, electrical stores and mobile phone shops had been ransacked, with boxes for large plasma televisions discarded outside, along with CDs and glass from smashed windows.

"They have taken almost everything," said Saad Kamal (27), branch manager of retailer JD Sports. "Whatever is left is damaged."

Local member of parliament David Lammy and police chiefs appealed for calm. "This must stop," Mr Lammy told reporters, saying they did not know if everyone had escaped flats above shops that were gutted by fire.

"A community that was already hurting has now had the heart ripped out of it."

The trouble started last night following a peaceful demonstration over the shooting of Mark Duggan (29), who was killed after an exchange of gunfire with police on Thursday. Duggan's death is now being investigated by the independent police watchdog.

The riots also come amid deepening gloom in Britain, with the economy struggling to grow amid deep public spending cuts and tax rises brought into help eliminate a budget deficit which peaked at more than 10 per cent of GDP.

Locals said there had been growing anger recently about police behaviour.

"I've lived in Broadwater Farm for 20 odd years and from day one, police always pre-judge Turks and black people," aid a 23-year-old community worker of Turkish origin who would not give his name.

Fingers were also pointed at the police for failing to anticipate the trouble, although police commander Adrian Hanstock said there had been no hint of what was coming. He blamed a "mindless minority" for the trouble.


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