England was reeling this morning after another night of rioting turned inner cities into no-go areas as shops and businesses were looted and destroyed.
Last night 108 people were arrested as the rampant lawlessness that has left businesses and communities in ruins arrived in Manchester where thugs, some described as middle aged, rampaged through a major shopping centre.
The anarchy that started in London inner city areas has now spread to other major English cities including Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester.
Rioting in Bristol was described by eye-witnesses as being “like the end of the world”. In Nottingham cars were set ablaze and a police station was firebombed. In Birmingham three young Asian men protecting their neighbourhood were killed in a hit and run incident. In London the international between England and Holland was cancelled after authorities admitted they could not guarantee the players and fans safety.
An under pressure London Mayor Boris Johnston was heckled as he admitted that authorities had lost control. Last night 16,000 policemen were deployed to patrol the streets of London in an effort at preventing further carnage. Many businesses took the precautionary action of closing early in anticipation of further rioting.
The unprecedented rioting and looting has led to PM David Cameron cutting short his holiday to Tuscany. The Tory leader flew back to the UK and immediately announced that the UK parliament would be recalled to allow MPs to “stand together in condemnation of these crimes and to stand together in determination to rebuild these communities”.
Mr Cameron condemned the violence and pledged that the perpetrators would “feel the full force of the law”. Around 750 people have been arrested and 105 charged with offences in connection with the London violence. Local people have been critical of what they say has been a lack of police response.
The intensity of the violence is such that consideration is being given to arming English police with plastic bullets, something never before seen on any part of the UK mainland. The Met police have stocks of plastic bullets but they are seen as a method of last resort.
The riots were sparked after police shot dead a young black man. Mark Duggan had been the passenger in a cab when police opened fire killing Mr Duggan. However there have been claims that the ‘wall to wall’ TV coverage of the resultant violence may have inadvertently encouraged copycat style raids in other cities.
Meanwhile there are questions over the reasons for the shooting dead of Mr Duggan after tests found no evidence that a weapon found at the scene had been discharged.
Initial reports from police stated that Mr Duggan had been killed after officers returned fire, however the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) has now announced that Mr Duggan did not fire at police before he was gunned down.
IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne went on to confirm that a CO19 firearms officer fired two bullets, one hit Mr Duggan in the chest and another hit him in the right arm. A bullet that lodged itself in a police officer’s radio was “consistent with being fired from a police gun”.
Duggan’s family said while they did not condone the riots currently taking place throughout England, they were devastated by the IPCC report. “Someone must be made to account for what happened,” they said.