U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday “a fightback is under way” to restore law and order to Britain’s streets despite rioting, looting and arson by gangs of youths spreading from London to other cities.
Youths fought running battles with police in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool as well as in the Midlands overnight Tuesday.
They smashed shop windows, carted off televisions and designer clothes, and torched buildings as police armed with shields and batons struggled to contain the disturbances.
A boosted police presence meant London itself was relatively quiet after three days of violent unrest that raised questions about the divided state of modern Britain.
About 16,000 policemen patrolled London’s streets Tuesday night. Shops, pubs and businesses in many areas closed early after boarding up windows and the capital had the air of a city under siege.
“We needed a fightback and a fightback is under way,” Cameron said.
The prime minister branded the unrest, which erupted in poor, inner-city areas of London during the weekend, as nothing more than criminality.
He made no reference to social and economic conditions which community leaders say sparked the problems.