Riots in London continue for a third day which saw attacks on people, fires and looting.
The Metropolitan Police has launched a “major investigation” into the riots that began in Tottenham.
Looting and arson by gangs of youths spread Monday (UK time) from poor northern districts of London to the south, to tourist areas of the capital and to Britain’s second-largest city as police flooded the streets and announced scores of new arrests.
The Metropolitan Police said the force was putting more officers on the streets in Hackney and other areas on Monday night.
Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh told British media, “What we can see is the Metropolitan Police is getting police officers there in numbers, when we have large numbers of criminals intent on that kind of violence.”
Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is returning to the U.K. from vacationing in Italy to chair an emergency meeting today to discuss rioting in London, which spread to three other cities. Other senior officials too broke off their summer vacations and returned to London to try to stem the worst outbreak of urban violence in Britain in a quarter-century.
The violence in the city started Saturday night after a peaceful protest over the police shooting of a 29-year-old man in an operation to control illegal firearms.
Some community leaders say the violence appears to also be a reaction to frustration over high unemployment and cutbacks in government services in mixed-race, low-income neighborhoods. Tottenham, where the riots began is home to a large number of ethnic minorities and has a history of racial tensions.
Others called it merely an opportunistic crime spree by youths who figured out that by organizing through social media, they could outwit the outnumbered police.