LONDON, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Violence in London was relatively subdued, but unrest was reported in other cities, including Birmingham, where police said three people died when hit by a car.
Police have opened an investigation into the three deaths; residents said they were protecting their neighborhood from possible looting and fire-setting by youths wearing face-hiding hoodies and masks, the BBC reported.
Authorities said they didn’t know whether the deaths were linked to overnight rioting in the area, Sky News said.
Meanwhile cities began cleaning up the aftermath of days of rioting and violence that led to looting, setting homes, businesses, government offices and vehicles ablaze and the arrests of hundreds of people, more than 760 in London alone.
Prime Minister David Cameron scheduled a second emergency Cabinet Office Briefing Room meeting Wednesday to deal with the crisis and recalled Parliament for a special session Thursday “so we are all able to stand together in condemnation of these crimes and stand together in determination to rebuild these communities.”
The riots began Saturday after a peaceful protest in London’s Tottenham area related to the shooting of a man by police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said Tuesday ballistic tests contained “no evidence” that a handgun found at the scene where Mark Duggan, 29, was killed had been fired at officers.
Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said the city’s force had been overwhelmed by what he described as “the most sickening scenes” of his career.
Speaking at a briefing Wednesday morning, Shewan said police were “absolutely intent” on bringing the rioters to justice and issued a warning to the trouble-makers.
“Hundreds and hundreds of people, we have your image, we have your face, we have your acts of wanton criminality on film,” he said. “We are coming for you, from today and no matter how long it takes, we will arrest those people responsible.”
In Nottingham, a police station was firebombed, Sky News reported.
Rioting spread beyond England’s borders for the first time, with South Wales Police saying officers responded to a number of isolated incidents in the Cardiff area Tuesday.
Scotland Yard drafted in special constables and community support officers in London, boosting the number of officers on duty to 16,000, five times the number on duty for a Tuesday.
Cameron’s office said the higher staffing levels would remain in place “as long as necessary.”
At least 111 London Metropolitan police officers sustained injuries after being attacked by rioters, the BBC said. Five police dogs also were hurt.
London Mayor Boris Johnson called on the government to reconsider its decision to cut the London Metropolitan Police, saying the riots “substantially weakened” arguments for the cuts.
London police leaders said they are considering using plastic bullets.
Some Londoners stood guard outside their homes, stores and religious facilities Tuesday prepared to defend their neighborhoods, Sky News said. One group marched through Enfield in north London to deter looters.
London police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steven Kavanagh told Sky News these groups of defenders weren’t helping police.
“What I don’t need is these so-called vigilantes, who appeared to have been drinking too much and taking policing resources away from what they should have been doing, which is preventing the looting,” Kavanagh said.
The damage likely will cost insurers “tens of millions of pounds,” the Association of British Insurers said.