Britain had its first calm night Wednesday after four straight nights of riots that left parts of some British cities, including London, looking like war zones.
Police and witnesses report just minor incidents as thousands of riot police fill the streets of London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham. British Prime Minister David Cameron has authorized police to use water cannons, which were used in Northern Ireland, but never in mainland Britain. He says a “fightback” is under way to restore law and order.
Mr. Cameron said Britain will not let a “culture of fear” take control of the country, saying police will be given anything they need to put down the violence. The prime minster has called Parliament away from its summer vacation for a special session Thursday.
Hundreds of youths — many saying they are sick of unemployment and cuts in government help — burned buildings and cars, looted stores, smashed windows, and attacked police. The violence was touched off by the police shooting death last week of a 29-year-old man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood.
Police have arrested more than 1,100 people since Saturday. The youngest suspect is 11 years old. Many of the riot victims are small business owners who say they have taken up weapons to protect their property.
Birmingham police opened a murder investigation Wednesday when three men were run over by a car and killed apparently while trying to protect their neighborhood from looters. Police have a suspect in custody.