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British cities assess damage after night of rioting

08-10-2011 18:22 BJT Special Report:London Riots |

LONDON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- British cities outside London Wednesday morning were assessing the damage after a night of copycat riots spread from London.

An unprecedented police presence of 16,000 officers on the streets prevented a fourth night of rioting in London, but the northern city of Manchester was hit by the worst rioting in living memory as crowds of up to 2,000 strong smashed windows, looted shops and petrol-bombed premises.

Earlier, the neighboring city of Salford had seen rioters fight with police, set fire to cars and a community building.

The midlands city of Birmingham, as well as the neighboring town of West Bromwich and the city of Wolverhampton, were also the scenes of looting, rioting and arson.

Elsewhere, a police station was fire-bombed in the central Midlands city of Nottingham, and 50 arrests were made in the northern port of Liverpool after disorder broke out and nine arrests were made in the western city of Gloucester after youths attacked police with bottles and stones.

In the midlands city of Leicester, police clashed with a crowd of 100 stone-throwing youths.

In the aftermath of the riot in Manchester, the city's assistant chief constable Gary Shewan said the rioting was "senseless violence and senseless criminality on a scale I have never witnessed before."

He added, "These are pure and simple criminals running wild. They have nothing to protest against. There has been no spark ... I, like everyone else, was absolutely appalled by the shameful actions of these criminals."

Police battled for over six hours with the rioters in the central business and retail district of Manchester, as a clothes shop was petrol-bombed and many other shops were broken into and looted. So far, they have made 108 arrests.

Police said some of the rioters appeared to be highly organized criminal gangs targeting specific shops for looting. In the West Midlands police have so far made 109 arrests.

Police in the city are also investigating the deaths of three Asian men who were hit by a car in the early hours of the morning in the Winson Green area of the city.

Media reported that the men may have been on the streets protecting their neighborhood from rioters, and that the police were carrying out a murder investigation.

The riots were sparked by the fatal shooting last Thursday of Mark Duggan, aged 29, wanted for questioning by police in relation to a firearms investigation. Duggan was reportedly carrying an illegal gun when he was shot twice by police in north London.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: Xinhua

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