Britain Burning: Police Station Firebombed as Police, Civilian Patrols Show Numbers

Police show numbers as right-wing civilian group vows to confront riots on own.

ByABC News
August 9, 2011, 1:11 AM

Aug. 9, 2011— -- A gang of rioters firebombed a police station in central England late Tuesday, as fiery British riots continued to spread well beyond London.

"Canning Circus Police Station fire bombed by a group of 30-40 males," Nottingham, England, police said via Twitter. "No reports of injuries at this stage. A number of men arrested. Fire service at scene."

In another tweet, officials added, "Fire at Canning Circus Police Station is extinguished, scene being preserved for forensic evidence. At least 8 arrested."

In London, police were vowing to hit the streets in greater numbers as night fell and reported no new hotspots in the city as of late Tuesday evening, according to The Associated Press.

After police struggled against the riots on prior nights, shopkeepers closed early and residents stood guard in London's neighborhoods late Tuesday.

However, disturbances were reported this evening in Salford, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham -- and were said to be particularly bad in Manchester.

With rioting also now on record recently in Bristol and Liverpool, a far-right group that inspired Norwegian terror bomber Anders Behring Breivik said its members also were hitting the streets to take over where police had failed.

Stephen Lennon, leader of the English Defense League, told The Associated Press that up to 1,000 members planned to turn out in Luton, England, where the group is based, and elsewhere.

"We're going to stop the riots -- police obviously can't handle it," Lennon told the AP.

Earlier Tuesday, London's Metropolitan Police Service said there had been 563 people arrested and 105 charged so far in the violence and arson attacks that have rattled the northern part of London and other British cities.

The police added that the past three days had left 111 officers and five police dogs injured. Injuries ranged from fractured bones and serious head wounds to cuts and sprains.

On Tuesday, the first of several images of those suspected in the attacks were posted on the Met Police website.

"Today we are releasing the first of many, many images of people we will be speaking to in connection with the scenes of violence," Police Cmdr. Simon Foy said on the website. "We will not tolerate the violence that has been seen in parts of London."

The wave of rioting now entering its fourth day was sparked by the shooting death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London last Thursday. Police have said the man shot at them first. Angry protesters demonstrated against the fatal shooting in the multi-ethnic neighborhood Saturday, and the march soon degenerated into chaos.

Sections of London Descend Into Chaos

Since the rioting began in London, buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps have been set ablaze, with many sections of London descending into chaos -- an unsettling sight less than a year before the 2012 Olympics take over the capital. Two hundred Olympic officials were to arrive in London Tuesday for a planned review of 2012 Games preparations.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron cut his summer vacation in Italy short to chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee early Tuesday. Parliament will sit for a day on Thursday to debate the problem.

Speaking from 10 Downing Street Tuesday morning, Cameron told reporters that he would meet with the Metropolitan Police commissioner and the home secretary to discuss the crisis. After commending the police for their response so far, he said that there would be 16,000 police on the streets of London tonight.

"We will do everything to restore order to Britain's streets. ... This is criminality pure and simple and has to be confronted and defeated," Cameron said, adding that it is "quite clear that we need much more police on our streets and more robust police action."

Cameron had a message for those rioting and breaking the law across the country.

"You will feel the full force of the law, and if you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the consequences. ... You are not only wrecking lives of others, not only your community, you are potentially wrecking your own lives, too," he said.

London's Ambulance Service said it had treated 16 patients, of whom 15 were hospitalized. A 26-year-old man is in a serious condition in the hospital after he was shot Monday in Croydon.

London Police said all holding cells in the capital were full. Arrested rioters have been sent to police detention facilities outside London.

According to Scotland Yard, three people were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a police officer was injured by a car in Brent, northwest London, while trying to stop suspected looters.

As of early Tuesday, London has seen arson attacks and looting in more than a dozen locations, including some relatively affluent parts of town, including the central neighborhood of Notting Hill. Early Tuesday, firefighters were dealing with five major blazes, including a large one at a Sony distribution center in Enfield, northeast London, where looting reportedly took place early Monday night.

Scotland Yard has deployed an extra 1,700 officers in the city but is still struggling to deal with the scale of the unrest. Six thousand officers were on the street Monday night, but the rioting continued.