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January 23, 2022

Violence spreads across England

PM David Cameron condemns the rioting, recalls Parliament in session on Thursday. 26-year-old shot in car becomes first fatality.

LONDON – Violence broke out in four English cities as rioting and disorder spread across London for a third night. Hundreds of people attacked and looted shops in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham in what police called “copycat criminal activity”, BBC News reported. There were smaller disturbances in the Medway towns in Kent and also in Leeds.

It comes as London saw a third night of violence which began in Tottenham on Saturday over the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan. There was third night of violence in London after trouble started on Monday afternoon in Hackney. An extra 1,700 police officers were deployed in London, where shops were looted and buildings were set alight.

The prime minister has returned early from his holiday to discuss the unrest. The government’s emergency committee Cobra met on Tuesday to discuss the situation. “We will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets and make them safe for the law-abiding,” David Cameron said in Downing Street. He added that Parliament is being recalled on Thursday in response to the rioting.

More than 16,000 officers will be on London streets on Wednesday, he said. All Metropolitan Police leave has been cancelled, with the ranks swollen by reinforcements from other forces and community support officers. More than five times the usual number of officers for a Tuesday will patrol London’s streets later. Cameron condemned the “sickening scenes of people looting, vandalising, thieving, robbing”, which the Met Police said had resulted in 525 arrests and more than 100 people being charged. He told rioters: “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 the punishment.” The recall of Parliament will allow MPs to “stand together in condemnation of these crimes and to stand together in determination to rebuild these communities”, he said.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard said a 26-year-old man found shot in a car in Croydon, amid rioting in the town, had died in hospital. Met commander Christine Jones described the violence as “simply inexcusable”. All Met police cells in London are full and some of those arrested are being taken to surrounding forces. London Fire Brigade said fires had spread “almost pan-London” and it faced its “busiest night in recent history”. Its 999 control centre answered 2,169 calls between 18:00 BST on Monday and 07:19 BST on Tuesday.

BBC also quoted Met Police commissioner Tim Godwin as saying there is yet no plan for the army to get involved in London. Because of the riots, England’s friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday was called off and four other Carling Cup matches at Charlton, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Bristol City were postponed.

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