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London (VBS.TV) -- On Saturday, Aug. 6, people gathered in Tottenham to protest the police shooting of a 29-year-old local man. It quickly escalated into riots, looting and arson.
Those Tottenham riots have now inspired copycats. Early on Monday evening the whole city rose up against law and order. Shops were looted, huge buildings were burned, people were pulled from their cars and homes were invaded. All while our Parliament, London's mayor and Britain's prime minister were away on holiday.
And now it's spreading, as Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and many other cities have burst into violence. The riots may have begun as a protest, but now they're just mindless and brutal, with gangs roaming the streets in balaclavas, wielding bats and bottles.
We were filming as Monday's mob sparked into action after police stopped and searched two men in front of a nervous crowd in Hackney, London. Thirty minutes later, kids were tearing the street apart, smashing up opticians, sports shops, raiding supermarkets for ammo, attacking busses and looting a tree surgeon's van for wooden weapons.
As the police have been overrun, most of the nation have submitted authority to the mob, with only East London's Hasidic, Muslim and Turkish communities beating the crowd back from shops and mosques.
By Tuesday, many people were calling for the army to be deployed and a curfew to be brought in to combat the anarchy, but instead tonight the police were allowed to have a second go at controlling the streets.
While only 6,000 cops were active on Monday, yesterday 16,000 police armed with rubber bullets greeted any would-be rioters in London. It was a tactic that paid off as the city became a ghost town, with only isolated disturbances. However, elsewhere in England it was a different matter. Manchester saw sustained looting by more than a thousand youths, cars were torched in Liverpool, and three men died in Birmingham after being hit by a car as they defended their mosque.