Third Night of London Riots, British PM Cuts Vacation Short

Posted August 8th, 2011 at 5:50 pm (UTC-5)
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British Prime Minister David Cameron is cutting short a vacation in Italy and rushing back to London to deal with some of the city's worst rioting in years.

Buildings, cars and bus stops burned and police fought with young people for a third straight night Monday in several London neighborhoods. Stores and restaurants were looted and police were pelted with gasoline bombs.

The violence broke out after police shot to death a 29-year-old man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood late last week. A peaceful demonstration marking his death exploded into violence Saturday when protesters threw stones at police, smashed store windows, and set cars and buses on fire.

Police say they have arrested 215 people so far. Thirty-five officers have been hurt, including three policemen run over by a car while trying to make arrests.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calls the violence “needless,” “opportunistic” and “completely unacceptable.” Home Secretary Theresa May condemned the rioters as criminals.

But London residents say the riots were spurred by anger over the gloomy economic situation in north London, including high unemployment and reduced public services.

Tottenham is home to a large number of ethnic minorities and has a history of racial tensions. In 1985, a police officer was hacked to death there when Afro-Caribbean youths in a deprived housing estate went on a rampage.