Image: Police officers detain a man in Enfield, north London
Stefan Wermuth  /  Reuters
Police officers detain a man in Enfield, north London August 7. Police said they were called to Enfield, a few miles north of Tottenham, where youths had smashed two shop windows and damaged a police car.
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 8/7/2011 9:55:40 PM ET 2011-08-08T01:55:40

Groups of youths attacked shops and damaged a police car in north London on Sunday as police sent in reinforcements to prevent more rioting on the scale that laid waste to another area of the British capital 24 hours earlier.

Scattered incidents broke out on Sunday evening in Enfield, a few miles north of the deprived London neighbourhood of Tottenham, which was hit by some of the worst riots seen in London for years on Saturday night after a protest over the fatal shooting of a man by armed police a few days earlier turned violent.

Police Commander Christine Jones said the police had "extra resources" on duty across the capital on Sunday.

"Anyone else who thinks they can use the events from last night as an excuse to commit crime will be met by a robust response from us." she said in a statement.

Three shops were damaged, and two of them looted, in Enfield and the rear window of a police car was smashed, police said, adding that several people had been arrested.

NBC News staffer Zoya Kahn described a heavy police presence in the area.

Local pharmacist Dipak Shah told the BBC he and his brother had barricaded themselves in their shop after 15 youths smashed the window and tried to break in.

"It was very threatening. It felt as though they could have actually killed or maimed somebody," he said.

A Reuters photographer at the scene said a jeweller's shop window was broken but that riot police had flooded the centre of the suburb and youths, who had earlier hurled missiles at police, had dispersed.

Amid rumours there could be more flare-ups on Sunday, police Commander Adrian Hanstock told Reuters there was "a lot of ill-informed and inaccurate speculation on social media sites" that could inflame the situation.

Images, real-time updates on the riots from breakingnews.com

In Saturday's violence, several buildings were set ablaze. TV footage showed the double-decker bus in a fireball and mounted police charging through the streets trying to restore order. Police said 26 officers received injuries, most if not all apparently minor, and made 55 arrests, including four Sunday. The majority of arrests were for burglary; other offenses included violent disorder, robbery, theft and handling of stolen goods.

At least 200 rioters threw Molotov cocktails and battled police in the economically deprived Tottenham area Saturday, setting patrol cars, buildings and a double-decker bus on fire. It was some of the worst disorder seen in the British capital in recent years.

The protest came after a 29-year-old father of four was killed after an apparent exchange of gunfire with police on Thursday. Demonstrators gathered gathered outside Tottenham Police Station to demand "justice" for Mark Duggan.

'An absolute war zone'
Hours later, rioters smashed windows and looted buildings including banks, shops and a supermarket. Firefighters were called to "dozens" of blazes overnight, Sky News reported.

Mounted police and riot officers on foot in turn charged the crowd to push them back.

One person at the scene, who gave his name to the BBC as Tim, said: "It's an absolute war zone."

Image: A cyclist passes firefighters near buildings set alight during riots in Tottenham, north London
Luke Macgregor  /  Reuters
A cyclist passes firefighters near buildings set alight during riots in Tottenham, north London.

Firefighters initially could not reach a blazing shop blocked by the disorder. A woman who lives above the shop told reporters she was briefly trapped with her baby by the blaze and mayhem.

Looters were seen pushing carts full of stolen goods, the Telegraph reported. Some of the rioters were said to look as young as 7 to 10 years old. They were fleeing with looted TVs and stereos, the Guardian said.

Police dealt with pockets of trouble more than 10 hours after the rioting began, according to NBC News.

Scotland Yard police Commander Adrian Hanstock told reporters that a peaceful vigil has been hijacked by "mindless criminal thugs."

Earlier Sunday, police Commander Stephen Watson described the unrest as "distressing."

In a statement, he said that police "are aware of raised tensions ... which are understandable following the tragic death."

On the north side of Tottenham High Road on Saturday night, one rioter told the UK's Channel 4 News that he was "here to tell the police they can't abuse us, harass us. We won't put up with it, this is just the beginning, this is war, and this is what you get — fire."

The BBC reported that its TV news crew and satellite truck came under attack from youths. Sky News also said it was forced to temporarily withdraw camera crews from the area as the situation became increasingly volatile early Sunday.

Image: A destroyed car is seen on a street in Tottenham, north London
Stefan Wermuth  /  Reuters
A destroyed car is seen on a street in Tottenham, north London, on Sunday.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron branded the rioting as "utterly unacceptable."

"There is no justification for the aggression the police and the public faced, or for the damage to property," the spokesman told the BBC.

Widespread looting was also reported Sunday morning in the nearby Wood Green district of north London.

Duggan, whose death sparked the violence, had been in a taxi when it was stopped by armed officers as part of a pre-planned operation on Thursday. One police officer escaped unhurt after a bullet struck his radio. Duggan's death is being investigated by the independent police watchdog.

Racial tension
Tottenham has a large number of ethnic minorities and includes areas with the highest unemployment rates in London. It also has a history of racial tension with local young people, especially blacks, resenting police behavior including the use of stop and search powers.

The disorder was very close to where one of Britain's most notorious race riots occurred just over 25 years ago.

In 1985, police officer Keith Blakelock was hacked to death on the deprived Broadwater Farm housing estate during rioting in which around 500 mainly black youths rampaged through the streets, assaulting police, looting and setting fires.

Classford Stirling, a youth worker from Broadwater Farm, said there had been growing anger recently over stop and search practices by police. "It wasn't just black kids. It was the youth in general who are frustrated at the way the police are treating them," he told BBC TV.

Sad truth behind the London riot

"Everybody's now thinking of the way Mr Duggan was shot and they want answers. It's very difficult to turn round and say to them this is the wrong way because they believe this is the only way that they're going to get attention."

London also saw riots at the end of last year when protests against government plans to raise tuition fees for university students in the center of London turned violent with police and government buildings attacked.

During the most serious disturbances last December, rioters targeted the limousine belonging to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, kicking its doors, cracking a window and reportedly jabbing Camilla with a stick.

The Associated Press, Reuters, NBC News and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Video: Parents' appeal seems to help end London riots

  1. Transcript of: Parents' appeal seems to help end London riots

    CARL QUINTANILLA, anchor: Meanwhile, tensions are high tonight in London , one day after the streets there erupted in anger and flames when a police protest spun wildly out of control. Authorities are now breathing a sigh of relief as people appear to have heeded calls for calm. Our report tonight from NBC 's Martin Fletcher .

    MARTIN FLETCHER reporting: London 's worst riots in 30 years ended early this morning. And at daybreak the cleanup began. Fire destroyed this entire building, a carpet store, while 200 yards away, police detained another youth. Forty-eight arrested so far for arson, looting, violence. ATM machines were vandalized, shops looted, stores destroyed in an all-night frenzy of destruction. This was a patrol car . The police now are hoping this will not be repeated, but the people there, the young people telling me they're going to destroy -- their word -- destroy two other areas nearby. This is what scares the police, last night's out of control fury in Tottenham High Road in North London , only half an hour's drive from Parliament . Anger began growing Thursday when police shot dead Mark Duggan , a 29-year-old father of four who they described as a gangster. His friends doubted the police report , that he allegedly fired first at an officer. Saturday night Duggan 's friends and relatives protested outside the local police station. They say they did not want violence, but young thugs seized the moment, hurling rocks and bottles, a running battle with police. They torched two patrol cars, a double-decker bus and businesses and buildings. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods stolen. But today the parents of the dead man called for an end to the violence. Apart from small outbreaks, their appeal appears to have worked. Martin Fletcher , NBC News, London .

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