London riots: Residents demand tougher policing after third night of burning, looting [VIDEO]
London riots continued for a third night Monday and spread to other cities, causing Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short his holiday and hold crisis talks.
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Since the first night of rioting in Tottenham on Saturday, the burning and looting has spread to cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Oxford, and Reading. A young man who was shot in Croydon, south of London, died, becoming the first fatality of the riots.Skip to next paragraph
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It's also spreading through several London neighborhoods. But, arguably, it was unexpected violence in the predominantly white, middle class Clapham Junction that has worried a wider number of Londoners.
“I just didn’t expect trouble here and it was really frightening," says Erin Allen, originally from Los Angeles. “I’m not sure why the police are not dealing with them and letting these youths take things from shops. Back in L.A., the police would be a lot stronger.”
Fellow American Joseph Corcoran, a banker from Philadelphia, had to evacuate his two-bed apartment above a Subway food outlet around midnight after the neighboring Party Party costume store was set alight. He said: “I could smell smoke and decided to leave – it was pretty freaky. I’ve not been allowed back in yet and I stayed with my girlfriend overnight.”
Employees of the Party Party store now face an uncertain future.
“I’m really upset about what’s happened – these people are scum," says store worker Andy Hynes. "My boss has been up all night and is frantic, not knowing what’s going to happen. There’s 30 of us who work in that shop and what’s going to happen now?”
Photography shop owners Mick Jennar and Diane Wallace watched on TV with bated breath last night as the youths looted nearby shops. Mr Jennar said: “We’ve just spent £25,000 [$40,010] on a refit, so we could only watch and pray they didn’t touch the place.” Thankfully for him, they didn't.
Ms. Wallace added: “I’m still quite emotional about it all because we’ve also got a shop in Brixton [a working class neighborhood of South London also rocked by riots]. But despite it all, London’s a great place and I hung out a sign this window saying: ‘Try to smile, it’s a great city.’ ”
Outside, about 25 people showed up with dustpans and brushes to help clean up, but were not allowed through police lines. They were responding to a new website called riotcleanup.co.uk, which is calling on volunteers to help clear up affected areas.
There was no sign of volunteers in Brixton where trouble erupted on Sunday night, but anger at the violence and police reaction echoed that of Clapham Junction.
“It’s sad what’s happening," says Danny Haskell, a young local government employee. "This has got nothing to do with what happened in Tottenham and everything to do with people wanting to cause trouble and nick stuff. The police are just holding back and letting it happen.”