Ten thousand more policemen fanned out across London’s streets on Tuesday amid fears that widespread rioting would continue for the fourth night in succession.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who cut short a family holiday in Tuscany to deal with the crisis, said 16,000 police officers would be on the streets on Tuesday night, compared to the 6,000 out the previous night.
Hours before, a gang of about 200 hurled missiles at police in riot gear, set vehicles alight and smashed shops in the town of West Bromwich, near Birmingham, according to police and a BBC report.
Television pictures showed a gang lined up behind a barricade in a stand-off with scores of police in front of vans. Violence also erupted in nearby Wolverhampton, where youths broke into shops.
The first fatality of the riots came on Tuesday when a 26-year-old man who was shot a day earlier in a car in Croydon during the disturbances died. Police from Operation Trident, which specialises in gun crime within the black community, launched a murder investigation.
As violence spread from London to elsewhere in the country, British police made 138 arrests in Birmingham, taking the total number of detainees over 500.
With London smouldering after the third night of mayhem, Britain’s police watchdog said it had found no evidence that Mark Duggan, whose death at the hands of the police last week was the catalyst for unprecedented riots in London, had fired a gun at officers.
“At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident,” said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in an update on last Thursday’s fatal shooting in Tottenham, north London.
Duggan, 29, was travelling in a taxi when the vehicle was stopped by police carrying out an arrest as part of a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) operation against gun crime within the black community.
British Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament and ordered thousands of extra police onto the streets after rioting left parts of London and other cities in flames.
London police said they would consider using baton rounds amidst calls for a stronger response to the ongoing riots. “That’s a tactic that will be used by the Metropolitan police if deemed necessary,” British Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told reporters.
Meanwhile, the UK government is also considering suspending BlackBerry services.
(Read: Protests in London)
Iran asks Britain not to use ‘violence’ against riots
Iran urged Britain on Tuesday to show “restraint” in dealing with rioters.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast asked “the British government to prevent the use of violence by the police, and to engage in dialogue with the protesters and examine their demands in order to restore calm,” the state television website said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.