100 new arrests as ‘copy cat’ violence plagues London

Police in London arrested more than 100 people Sunday night and early Monday in connection with violence that has afflicted London neighborhoods following riots in the city’s Tottenham enclave over the weekend.

The arrests are in addition to 61 others made Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Early Monday, a “fast moving vehicle” struck officers making arrests for looting, police said, as “copy cat” unrest speckled London following Saturday’s riots, looting and vandalism.

Three police officers suffered light to non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment, according to a Metropolitan Police news release.

Also Monday, firefighters battled a fire in a shoe store.

“Groups of youths are continuing to target shops,” but more police officers have hit the streets since Saturday’s riots.

“This is a challenging situation with small pockets of violence, looting and disorder breaking out on a number of boroughs,” said Commander Christine Jones of the Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard.

The riots were spurred by the shooting death Thursday of a man, Mark Duggan, as he was riding a cab.

Police stopped the cab during an attempted arrest, and soon shots were fired, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said. The commission did not say who shot the 29-year-old, nor why the cab was stopped.

But the man’s family and friends blamed the police for the death and gathered outside the Tottenham police station Saturday night to protest peacefully.

The protests soon devolved into riots. Rioters tossed petrol bombs, looted stores and burned police cars.

They pelted officers with bottles and bricks as police in riot gear charged at the crowd and blocked off streets. A double-decker bus and some buildings were also set ablaze, sending bright orange flames shooting into the night sky.

At least 26 officers were injured Saturday night, police said.

“There was no indication that the protest would deteriorate into the levels of criminal and violent disorder that we saw,” Police Cmdr. Adrian Hanstock said. “We believe that certain elements, who were not involved with the vigil, took the opportunity to commit disorder and physically attack police officers, verbally abuse fire brigade personnel and destroy vehicles and buildings.”

The next morning,a statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office called the rioting “utterly unacceptable.”

“There is no justification for the aggression the police and the public faced, or for the damage to property,” it said.

Throughout the day Sunday, police appeared to be playing a game of cat-and-mouse with gangs of youth. Packs of young men walked the streets with hoodies on and scarves covering their faces.

Police stepped up patrol.

There were scattered reports of looted shops and smashed-in storefronts, but the level of violence was not repeated.

A British police watchdog group said pieces of evidence taken from the Thursday shooting scene, including a nonpolice firearm, will undergo forensic testing.

Rachel Cerfontyne, of the police complaints commission, said that while the shooting is still under investigation, “speculation that Mark Duggan was ‘assassinated’ in an execution-style involving a number of shots to the head are categorically untrue.”

Hanstock, the police commander, called Duggan’s death “extremely regrettable.”

“It is absolutely tragic that someone has died, but that does not give a criminal minority the right to destroy businesses” and “steal from their local community,” he said.