Riots in London

Rioting has spread across London, with unrest flaring in other English cities. An extra 1,700 police officers were deployed in London, where shops were looted and buildings were set alight.

The prime minister has returned early from his holiday to discuss the unrest, which first flared last week Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, by police.

Over 900 people have been arrested following a wave of "copycat criminal activity" across London last week, the Met Police said. More than 400 people have been charged with various offences. Three people are being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a police officer was injured by a car in Wembley, north-west London, while trying to stop suspected looters.

Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin ruled out bringing in the Army to help police tackle the violence, but said: "We will be out there in ever greater numbers." Met commander Christine Jones said the violence was "simply inexcusable"

Last Monday's violence started in Hackney after a man was stopped and searched by police but nothing was found. Groups of people began attacking the police in Hackney at about 16:20 BST, throwing stones and a bin at officers. Police cars were smashed by youths armed with wooden poles and metal bars. Looters also smashed their way into shops before being dispersed by police.

Nine police forces from other parts of the country have assisted in providing support to the capital city, as well as the City of London Police and British Transport Police. However, eyewitnesses have reported that as trouble spread across the city, there were often few police officers around when violence flared.

Several fires broke out in Croydon, including one at a large sofa factory which spread to neighbouring buildings and tram lines. Looters raided a Debenhams store and a row of shops in Lavender Hill in Clapham, as well as shops in Stratford High Street. More than 100 people looted a Tesco store in Bethnal Green, where two officers were injured. Shops and restaurants were damaged in Ealing, west London, and there was a fire in Haven Green park opposite Ealing Broadway Tube.

Carling Cup matches at Charlton, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Bristol City, which were due to be played last Tuesday, were all postponed at the request of the police. A friendly between England and Holland at Wembley last Wednesday was also cancelled.

Home Secretary Theresa May returned early from her holiday, to meet Met chiefs to discuss their response to the violence. London's mayor Boris Johnson also cut short his holiday to return to the city. Johnson faced severe criticism from local residents, who complained that they had not had enough protection from police and communities were calling for policing to be more effective.

It is clear that these riots have been the worst scenes of violence and disturbance on London’s streets for many years. Claphams’ MP, Diane Abbott, stated that a London-wide curfew should be considered.

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