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London Riots Spread to Other British Cities

Police in riot gear drag a man along a street in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011
Police in riot gear drag a man along a street in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011

Violence has broken out in two more British cities, while London endures its third straight night of rioting.

Police in Birmingham and in Liverpool report fires and looting. A Liverpool police spokesman says police are taking swift and robust action to what he calls "isolated outbreaks of disorder."

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a vacation in Italy and rushed back to London to deal with some of the city's worst rioting in years.

Buildings, cars and bus stops burned and police fought with young people for a third straight night Monday in several London neighborhoods. Stores and restaurants were looted and police were pelted with gasoline bombs.

Video footage of London riots:

The violence broke out after police shot to death a 29-year-old man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood late last week. A peaceful demonstration marking his death exploded into violence Saturday when protesters threw stones at police, smashed store windows, and set cars and buses on fire.

Police say they have arrested 215 people so far. Thirty-five police have been hurt, including three policemen run over by a car while trying to make arrests.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calls the violence "needless," "opportunistic" and "completely unacceptable." Home Secretary Theresa May condemned the rioters as criminals.

But London residents say the riots were spurred by anger over the gloomy economic situation in north London, including high unemployment and reduced public services.

Tottenham is home to a large number of ethnic minorities and has a history of racial tensions. In 1985, a police officer was hacked to death there when Afro-Caribbean youths in a deprived housing estate went on a rampage.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.