Police swarm streets of London to battle unrest

Police walk past a burning shop in Manchester. Recent riots and looting are expanding outside London proper.

Riots flared in English cities and towns last night as London waited anxiously to see if thousands of police deployed on its streets could head off the youths who had rampaged across the capital virtually unchecked for three nights.

In Salford, part of greater Manchester in northwest England, rioters threw bricks at police and set fire to buildings. A BBC cameraman was assaulted.

Television pictures showed flames leaping from shops and cars in Salford and Manchester, and plumes of thick black smoke billowing across roads.

In central Manchester, police said a clothes shop was set alight. “I can confirm a shop is on fire and 200 youths that gathered in the city center have been chased by riot police and dispersed. Seven arrests have been made so far,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said.

Further south in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, cars were burned and stores raided.

Community leaders said the violence in London — the worst for decades in the huge, multi-ethnic capital — was rooted in growing disparities in wealth and opportunity.


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