Entries in London Riots (8)


'Vigilante' Groups Turn on London Rioters

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Top London officials have warned the city's citizens against administering vigilante justice in the midst of widespread riots after several groups organized to protect their property by any means necessary.

"We don't want to see vigilantism," London Mayor Boris Johnson said Wednesday in a press conference, according to England's The Telegraph. "People defending their homes and shops must only use reasonable force."

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh also urged restraint, saying "vigilantism" could lead to further violence, according to a report by the BBC.

Though the streets of London were quieter Wednesday due to a massive influx of police, the authorities' comments come just hours after reports emerged that three Pakistani men had been killed after being hit by a car while protecting a neighborhood in Birmingham, England.

"At some point, and in circumstances that as yet I can't fully explain, a vehicle has been driven into that group of males, which tragically has led to three of those men losing their lives," West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims said, according to the BBC.

Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the men, told the BBC his son and many others had come out of a nearby mosque to protect the area. One man has been arrested in connection with the deaths.

During the height of the violence Monday, video emerged of what appeared to be a Turkish group chasing rioters down the street and away from Turkish-owned shops in east London. A Bangladeshi group also reportedly gathered around their own shops to form a human barrier against rioters. Tuesday night, hundreds of Sikhs gathered outside a Sikh temple, some standing defiant with swords raised or their arms crossed over their chest.

Sikh Satjinder Singh told the BBC the group gathered because they had been tipped off looters may come to attack the neighborhood.

The English Defence League, a right-wing anti-immigration group, wrote on its website that its supporters have "already taken to the streets to help defend their communities and prepare for the clean-up operations that must follow the last few days of rioting [and] looting."

But according to a report by The Telegraph, one meeting of EDL supporters and citizens in Eltham in southeast London nearly turned violent when the group attacked a passing bus full of black youths, but was stopped by police.

Though Kavanagh said he had seen "some outstanding acts of courage... to stop people out there from breaking the law and persuading [rioters] to go home," he does not support vigilantism and believed such acts could draw valuable resources away from putting down the riots.

"What we don't need is for our resources to be diverted by groups of people, some of whom having been drinking," he said. "We do not want to see more violence on our streets."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


U.K. Riots: Three Dead as London Police Go on Offensive

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The rioting and looting gripping England has turned deadly as it enters a fifth day Wednesday, with three men killed by a hit-and-run driver in Birmingham.

Reports from neighbors indicate that the men were attempting to protect their area from rioters when they were struck by the car.

"Three men -- aged 31, 30, and 20 -- were on foot in Dudley Road in the Winson Green area of the city when they were in collision with a car.  All later died from their injuries in hospital," read a statement on the West Midlands Police's website.  "Detectives...will today question a 32-year-old man on suspicion of murder."

In London, Scotland Yard has gone on the offensive in the streets, adding on Tuesday an additional 10,000 officers who have created an eerie calm as night fell on the capital; the show of force apparently stifled the rioting.

Officers continued to arrest those involved in disorder both on the street and as a result of detective work, according to a statement from Scotland Yard, which rejected claims that officers were initially instructed not to make arrests.

"It is simply wrong to suggest officers were initially told not to actively arrest those involved in disorder," the statement read.  "As always the decision to make an arrest is down to the individual officer on the ground who must weigh up whether it is appropriate bearing in mind risks of further inflaming the crowd, wider operational requirements and our ability to gather evidence to arrest later."

In a city bristling with security cameras, pictures of looters began appearing in the newspapers and on TV in an attempt to identify more suspects.

Police had vowed to hit the streets in greater numbers as night fell and there were no new reported hotspots in the city as of late Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy has issued a statement warning Americans about London violence and has reminded them of common sense practices including avoiding civil unrest and not engaging with those causing disturbance.

The violence that began in London on Saturday has spread across England, with Manchester and Nottingham reportedly being hit hard by rioters, with roving gangs of young people setting buildings and cars on fire, looting stores, and terrorizing the public.  A gang of rioters also firebombed a police station in Nottingham on Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British PM: 'We Will Take Every Action Necessary' to Quell Riots

Peter Macdiarmid/WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- As violence persisted in Britain Tuesday, this time breaking out in Manchester, Birmingham and other cities, British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed on Wednesday to "take every action necessary to bring order back to our streets."

"We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order unto our streets.  Every contingency is being looked at it.  Nothing is off the table," Cameron said.

The prime minister announced that police have been authorized to use rubber bullets to quell the rioters that have been looting and setting fires across London and neighboring cities since the weekend.  The violence began after Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four with reported links to London gangs, was shot and killed by officers in London's Scotland Yard last Thursday.

Discussing the so-called Cobra emergency planning group, Cameron said water cannons will also be utilized to break up the rioting, if necessary.

"We agreed at Cobra that while they're not currently needed, we now have in place contingency plans for water cannons to be available at 24 hours notice," he said.

These latest measures in security come a day after Scotland Yard deployed an additional 10,000 officers on the streets of London Tuesday night.

So far, 770 people have been arrested in London -- including one 11-year-old boy.  Between Saturday night and Tuesday morning, 525 arrests were made -- 310 of which were overnight on Monday.  Across the country, a total of 1,100 arrests have been made.

"We will not put up with this in our country.  We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets," Cameron said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What Happened to the Man Who Sparked the London Riots?

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- On the night of Thursday, Aug. 4, a 29-year-old father of four with reported links to London gangs was shot and killed by officers in London's Scotland Yard. Five days later, more than 500 people have been arrested, at least 111 police officers have been injured, one person has died and several buildings have been completely engulfed in flames, in one of the largest riots in England's modern history.

The riot is believed to have grown out of a peaceful vigil in the London neighborhood of Tottenham for the death of Mark Duggan that quickly spiraled out of control. London's Metropolitan Police declined to answer questions posed by ABC News about what exactly occurred the night Duggan was gunned down, but an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed today that when Duggan was killed, he likely had never fired on police.

According to an account provided by the IPCC, Duggan was a passenger in a minicab when the cab was stopped Thursday evening by submachine gun-toting officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Trident -- a special operation "dealing with gun crime among black communities, in particular drug-related shootings."

What happened next is unclear due to conflicting reports by the IPCC and London-based media, which only have basic facts in common: multiple shots were fired, at least one bullet was lodged in a police radio worn by one of the officers and when it was over, Duggan was dead.

Based on the IPCC account, two shots were fired by a single officer. Later, after Duggan was pronounced dead at the scene, the IPCC said a post-mortem examination revealed he had been shot in the right arm but was felled by a single shot to the chest. A non-official handgun was recovered from the scene, but it did not appear that gun had been fired, the IPCC said.

Though the IPCC does not mention other shots being fired, it did confirm another bullet was recovered from the radio worn by one of the police officers. That bullet was consistent with those fired from the submachine guns carried by the officers.

Along with scouring the area for CCTV footage, the IPCC said it is taking statements from witnesses including the driver of the minicab who was not injured but "badly shaken by what he saw."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British PM Condemns London Riots; Security Stepping Up

Peter Macdiarmid/WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In response to the growing violence that has spurred across Britain following the shooting death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Tuesday that security measures will be increased to help scale back the rioting and looting.

Cutting his summer vacation in Italy short to chair an emergency meeting with police and security officials, Cameron condemned the violence and arson attacks that have rattled London and neighboring cities since the weekend.

"These are sickening scenes.  Scenes of people looting, vandalizing, thieving, robbing.  Scenes of people attacking police officers," Cameron said.

He added, "This is criminality pure and simple.  And it has to be confronted and defeated."

To that end, Cameron said more police officers will be deployed Tuesday night to try to stop the violence.

"The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said that compared with the 6,000 police on the streets last night in London, there will be some 16,000 officers tonight," the prime minister said.

He reassured people that "we will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain's streets and make them safe for the law abiding."

So far, 450 people have been arrested, according to Cameron, but "people should expect to see more, many more arrests in the days to come."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Riots Continue to Rattle London; Spreading Across U.K.

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The violence and arson attacks that have rattled north London since the weekend have now moved across all parts of the capital and are spreading on a smaller scale to other British cities -- the first time the recent unrest has flared outside the U.K.'s capital.

The wave of rioting now entering its third day was sparked by the shooting death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London on Thursday.  Angry protesters demonstrated against the fatal shooting in the multi-ethnic neighborhood on Saturday, and the march soon degenerated into chaos.

After spreading across London Monday, violence soon ignited in the British cities of Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.

As buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps are being set ablaze, many sections of London have descended into chaos -- an unsettling sight less than a year before the 2012 Olympics take over the capital.  Two hundred Olympic officials arrive in London on Tuesday for a planned review of 2012 games preparations.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has cut his summer vacation in Italy short in order to chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee early Tuesday.

London's Ambulance Service said it had treated 16 patients, of whom 15 were hospitalized.  Police said 334 people had been arrested and 69 people charged with offenses, and a 26-year-old man is in a serious condition in the hospital after being shot in Croydon Monday.

London Police say all holding cells in the capital are now full.  Arrested rioters are now being sent to police detention facilities outside London.

According to Scotland Yard, three people were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a police officer was injured by a car in Brent, northwest London, while trying to stop suspected looters.

As of early Tuesday, London has seen arson attacks and looting in over a dozen locations, including some relatively affluent parts of town like the central neighborhood of Notting Hill.  Early Tuesday, firefighters were dealing with five major blazes, including a large one at a Sony distribution center in Enfield, northeast London, where looting reportedly took place early Monday night.

Scotland Yard has deployed an extra 1,700 officers in the city but is still struggling to deal with the scale of the unrest.  Six thousand officers were on the street Monday night, but the rioting continued.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


London Riots Spread as Violence Intensifies

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British authorities say violence has spread to Liverpool as police deal with "a number of isolated outbreaks of disorder" following the destructive rioting and looting that erupted over the weekend after the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London Thursday.  

Witnesses in north Liverpool have described scenes of mass violence, including looting and arson, with riot police working to contain a crowd of about 300 people, many of whom are youths with their heads and faces covered.

Meanwhile, police in Birmingham have made close to 100 arrests after rioters rampaged across the center of the city Monday and into surrounding areas.

Scotland Yard says it deployed an extra 1,700 extra officers Monday night to help counter the increasingly dangerous situation. Riot police from neighboring forces have also been drafted in to help the situation.

So far, 225 people have been arrested and 36 people have been charged as police say the rioting continues to spread throughout neighboring cities. According to the Scotland Yard, violence and looting have flared up in several locations, including Clapham, Ealing, Camden, Portobello, East Ham, and Woolwich.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


London Riots Organized Through Social Media

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- As riots continue throughout London, British police have threatened to bring charges against those who use social media to incite looting and violence.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanaugh confirmed to UK media that officers were looking at Twitter as they investigated the riots, which began after the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London on Thursday.

But some observers have noted that the social media that has really helped "organize" the looting is not Twitter or even Facebook, so central to uprisings throughout the Arab world earlier this year. Many of the teenagers running through London's streets are communicating by BlackBerry Messenger.

Just before Duggan died Thursday, he sent a final message to his girlfriend via BlackBerry Messenger, "The Feds are following me." Ever since, according to Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe, "While Twitter has largely been the venue of spectators to violence and is a handy public venue for journalists to observe, it would appear the non-public BlackBerry BBM messaging network has been the method of choice for organizing it."

Butcher notes that BlackBerrys cost less than smartphones and that BBM is both essentially cost-free and invisible to police. In order to communicate, BBM users must exchange PINs, but their conversations are private. They can spread their PINs via SMS, Twitter or other means.

Blogger Jonathan Akwue said he didn't quite understand the appeal of BlackBerrys among London teens until his "far cooler 17-year-old nephew" explained that BBM was "the main reason for their popularity." The rioters seem to be as young as the BBM users. More than 200 alleged rioters have been arrested so far, and two-thirds of those for whom ages have been given are 21 or under.

Akwue was the first to note that BBM messages had been circulating since the Duggan shooting. "BBM was also the channel used to spread the word that the riot had started," wrote Akwue, "and from what I can tell on Twitter, it appears to be the means by which communications continue to be shared." Both Butcher and Akwue have archived reams of messages in which Londoners use Twitter to talk about BBM's role in the violence and looting, and even to offer to retweet BBM pins.

"Sending out BBM broadcasts about linking ukp at 4 pm to cause more havoc," writes one tweeter. Another says, ":o jd sports Tottenham hale just got robbed go on bbm to see da pics!" Another writes, "People had in their bbm status 'Going Tottenham riot, who's on it" like it was a casual street party. A fourth said, "According to my bbm, now something's starting in wood green."

Most telling perhaps are tweets that say, "BBM Where Ma News of Da Day Comes From" and "The news ain't even showing the extent of what's actually happening on the streets of tottenham? BBM is doing da ting right now!"

"Technology is ruining us," concludes tweeter Jessica Kennedy. "Bare man organizing riots over bbm."

Research in Motion, the manufacturer of BlackBerry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News. RIM's Patrick Spence, managing director of global sales and regional marketing, issued a statement saying, "We feel for those impacted by this weekend's riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can. As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio