LONDON | Mon Aug 8, 2011 6:08pm EDT
British riots spread on third night of violence
LONDON (Reuters) - Riots spread to new areas of London on Monday while looting also erupted in the city of Birmingham as Britain's worst unrest in decades escalated in a third night of violence.
British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday to fly home to tackle the violence, which politicians and police have blamed on criminal thugs and which come amid deep economic gloom in Britain.
In Hackney, a multi-ethnic area in east London close to the site of next year's Olympic Games, hooded youths set fire to rubbish bins and pushed them down a street toward police, while hurling bottles and bricks.
Many laughed as they ran back when police charged them. Others shouted into their cellphones telling their friends to join in.
The disturbances started late on Saturday in London's northern Tottenham district when a peaceful protest over the police's shooting of a suspect turned violent.
On Monday, the violence had spread to the south of the city, including the areas of Peckham, Croydon and Lewisham.
Attackers also smashed shops and looted property in the central England city of Birmingham, police said, in the first sign of the riots spreading beyond the capital.
In Hackney, with the street thick with smoke, looters smashed their way into a local shop, stealing whisky and beer. One had even grabbed a packet of cornflakes. Another man ran away laughing while carrying four bottles of whisky.
"I am from South Africa and it reminds me of the riots there, except the police here are not so rough," said one middle-aged local resident, who declined to give his name.
"But the kids don't have any respect for the police or for property. It's sad for the people who live round here."
In Peckam, flames leapt into the air from a torched building, while rubble was strewn across the street. People walked in and out of shops looting.
Cameron's office said he would cut short his holiday in Italy to chair an emergency crisis meeting, amid growing calls from the public for officials to take control of the crisis.
Police had arrested 215 people, according to Home Secretary Theresa May.
"The violence we've seen, the looting we've seen, the thuggery we've seen, this is sheer criminality ... these people will be brought to justice, they will be made to face the consequences of their actions," she said.
But despite a heavy police presence, they appeared unable to contain the violence as looters coordinated through mobile phones and Twitter to try to keep one step ahead of them.
In Hackney, youths in brown hoods posed for pictures in front of a burning car on a street corner. Others swarmed around a skip full of bricks and gathered them up.
"I don't know why they are doing this," said a middle-aged woman who lived nearby. "It's senseless ... they are just cacking on their own doorstep."
The BBC said the Hackney clashes broke out after police stopped and searched a man.
British government officials branded rioters as opportunistic criminals and said the violence would not affect preparations for next summer's Olympic Games.
Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh said the force was putting more officers on the streets in Hackney and other areas on Monday night.
"Let me make it clear that people who are using current events as an excuse or cover to break the law, steal, attack police officers and cause fear to Londoners will not be tolerated by the vast majority of Londoners and us," he said.
A small group of people said they had barricaded themselves inside the 110-year-old Hackney Empire theater to escape the violence.
"We are stuck inside," said one person, who did not give her name, in a telephone conversation with Reuters.
"We don't want to be near the windows. They seem to be targeting shops at the moment. It's very scary."
"We are in the back of the building, staying away from the front. We have barricaded the doors and put chains on the doors."
Youths appeared to have used a free message service on Blackberry mobile phones to coordinate attacks on shops and police.
Research In Motion, the Canadian manufacturer of Blackberry smartphones, said it would work with British authorities, but gave no details on what information, if any, it would give the police.
"We feel for those impacted by this weekend's riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can," RIM spokesman Patrick Spence said in a statement.
Some have branded the disturbances as a cry for help from impoverished areas reeling from the government's harsh austerity cuts to tackle a big budget deficit, with youth services and other facilities cut back sharply.
"Tottenham is a deprived area. Unemployment is very, very high ... they are frustrated," said Uzodinma Wigwe, 49, who was made redundant from his job as a cleaner recently.
Officials said there was no excuse.
"It was needless, opportunistic theft and violence, nothing more, nothing less. It is completely unacceptable," said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft, Mohammed Abbas, Matt Falloon, Avril Ormsby and Jon Hemming; Editing by Myra MacDonald)
London riots: the third night – live coverage• Clashes in Hackney, Peckham and Croydon
• Disturbances spread to Birmingham
• Prime minister returning overnight
• Blackberry messenger used to co-ordinate trouble
• Acting Met chief promises 'robust' response
Masked man walks past a burning car outside a Carhartt store in Hackney on August 8, 2011 Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
10.47pm: Barry Neild is now in Dalston:
We've detoured to Dalston where a bus was set on fire in shacklewell lane earlier. The single deck bus is now cordoned off and there doesn't seem to be much damage, but the incident has clearly shaken the large Turkish community here. Many shopkeepers are on the street talking about how they chased away the gang of youths behind the bus fire.
"We beat up four of them quite badly and they ran off," one man, who wouldn't give his name, said. Another said: "this is not justice, coming here and trying to attack us." Notably several businesses are still open ascot usual here, unlike other violence hit areas.
We've just watched a mob of locals chase a gang of hoodies down the main road, with police vans on full siren in pursuit.
10.33pm: Audio interview with Matthew Taylor, who is in Croydon.
Matt says the scene is one of "burned out cars". Shops have been looted too. Some 300 to 400 people were involved in disturbances. Matt says the police seem stretched with controlling the large fire – which we saw pictures of earlier and is believed to have engulfed a carpet shop – leaving very little presence at all in the areas he has passed through so far.
10.26pm: I've been passed this account from someone who witnessed violence in Walworth, between Elephant and Castle and Camberwell, earlier. They've asked not to be named.
I turned up at the Morrisons supermarket branch on Walworth Road, SE17, at about 6.50pm only to find the place shuttered up and one of the few members of staff remaining by the back door telling me that they had closed early as it was due to "go off" in Peckham, four miles away, at 7pm.
I left and dropped into a bar to pass on 'the news' only to see BBC World footage on the TV, taken from a helicopter by the look of it, of nearby Lewisham burning, and Peckham soon after. Within minutes, fives and sixes of masked blokes were running past the bar and through to the main street, a handful dumping cars outside the bar on double yellow and charging through to the nearby thoroughfare, which the police had blockaded at the north end in the vicinity of the Tankard pub, along the side road from the police station.
Buses were stopped and abandoned, I'm told, and looters were laying siege to Lynne's Electrical, jewellery and pawn shops, the Carphone Warehouse, Foot Locker and later M&S and finally Argos, and that's all that I heard. Others will have been done, although the Turkish supermarket was apparently left alone.The pie and mash shop in the sidestreet of Westmoreland Road was also entered and trashed
Young men, 90% of them black, and the occasional middle-to-old aged black woman, then spent the next hour or so running through the sidestreets with their pickings, the first of them with widescreen TVs, boxes that contained kettle-sized electrical goods, trainers and the like from Foot Locker, and M&S clothing. A white 20-something one with a bad limp came to the door of the bar to ask them to call him a cab. The request was declined.
Some of the looters dumped gear in nearby gardens and returned to the Walworth Road, others had filled wheelie bins with whatever and were pushing them home, while the professionals returned to the double-parked cars (BMWs and the like, tinted windows in at least two cases) before replacing their masks and returning for any pickings they may have missed.
Innocent people turned up at the bar who had been diverted around the sidestreets, one telling me he saw a gang of about 10 black youths throw a man off his motorbike at Albany Road traffic lights before another rode it on in the direction of Camberwell. then the cyclists around him at the traffic lights who tried to help were attacked with weapons by hooded and/or masked vigilantes coming from the vicinity of adjacent Burgess Park.
People in the bar who lived on the other side of the Walworth Road were ringing relatives/kids on the other side of it not to open their doors to anyone - it was anarchy in the literal sense of the word.
Two police vans finally made it up to Argos at about 8.30pm, which dispersed the people in and outside there sporadically. They had been in there for about an hour though people were still loitering in nearby streets with intent at nightfall. We can only hope that nothing is torched by late arrivals who find themselves empty handed. That, or the police regain control of the thoroughfare.
10.20pm: More from Nick Watt – Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has been commenting on tonight's riots:
I am shocked by the scenes we are seeing in parts of London and Birmingham.
This violence and vandalism is disgraceful criminal behaviour.
What we need to see is the strongest possible police response to restore calm and security to our streets and for communities to work together.
It is right that the Prime Minister is chairing Cobra. We need a coordinated response to ensure public safety and help those people who have lost homes and businesses.
10.16pm: Brixton: Sam Francis is in Loughborough Junction Brixton, where he witnessed 30 youths, faces covered, being chased into the station by two police officers. Police vans and cars were also in pursuit, and blocked the youths inside the station. More as we get it.
Here's a picture Sam took of the outside of the station, which my colleague James Ball helpfully uploaded to Twitter.
10.10pm: Video showing a woman fearlessly telling youths in Hackney to "grow up" in the wake of riots. "I'm ashamed to be a Hackney person," she says. Footage courtesy of Telegraph journalist Matthew Moore - @mattkmoore on Twitter, with thanks to Christian Bennett for the link.
9.49pm: Ben Quinn is in Clapham Junction, south London:
Dozens of youths started the night's violence on Northcote Road at just after nine o'clock when they ransacked a Curry's electronic store in Northcote Road. They were joined by dozens of others, many with black hoods and scarves after a small number of riot police left the scene half an hour earlier when they came under light bombardment from projectiles.
Onlookers and locals identified many of those present as "blues, yellows and reds", members of local gangs who they said had called a truce for the evening. Along Northcote Road the windows of other stores in including Starbucks were smashed.
The gangs ran along the road and at one point a middle-aged man and his wife pointed in the direction of a jewellers further up the road and other potential targets.
Less than 30 metres away dozens of revellers stood outside a local pub drinking beer and looking on.
As it became apparent after 20 minutes of looting that the police were not coming back the looters were joined by many more.
9.44pm: Lizzy Davies is filing from Hackney:
Full scale looting going on at Clarence convenience store right by the burning car on clarence road. "One by one" shouts one man as people crowd round to get into the shop, whose entrance has been smashed in. Women calling: can you get me a magazine? Other people asking for alcohol. A photographer is being threatened by a guy and press moving away. But others still smashing in rest of shop front.
The situation is highly volatile. A man was just hit over the head with a bottle and punched in the face. A witness said his assailant was a woman. He was left bleeding down the back of his neck. The apparent motive for the assault was that the man was taking photos. But he told police afterwards that he hadn't been doing that when he was targeted, so the circumstances remain unclear.
9.39pm: Video apparently showing looting occurring in Birmingham.
9.26pm: Peter Walker has more from Catford.
I just watched an extraordinary scene in Catford, maybe half a mile from the main trouble. With the police occupied a small group of young men decided to kick down the door of a Halfords store, in full view of the busy South Circular road. As they tried and tried - the shutters were tough - a crowd formed, and cars stopped. One young woman leaned out of her car, laughing: "Satnav! I want a satnav!" she yelled at them.
Eventually - maybe 20 minutes later - riot police with dogs arrived and the slower-running looters (some people did carry off goods) were caught.
Earlier Peter told me he overheard a police inspector saying on a radio that the trouble in Catford is the work of 150 people at most.
"But the trouble is, they're so mobile," he told his boss. "You clear them out and they pop up somewhere else."
9.19pm: The prime minister will return to London, the BBC is reporting. He will fly overnight. Earlier Downing Street said Cameron had no plans to cut short his holiday.
9.15pm: The fire continues in Croydon. Trying to get more info from the area. If you are there, please contact me on Twitter @AdamGabbatt
9.11pm: The violence has sprad to Leeds, reports Martin Wainwright:
There was a tense situation in the Chapeltown area of Leeds where police were called after a man was shot and suffered facial injuries.
Up to 100 youths, some wearing masks, gathered in the area which has seen street violence in the past but has enjoyed a better reputation in the past decade.
The UK's second biggest Caribbean carnival is held in the local Potternewton Park on August bank holiday with a parade through the city centre.
9.01pm: A large building in Croydon is ablaze. Very intense fire. More shortly.
8.57pm: Caroline Davies was jotting down the full statement from Met police acting commissioner Tim Godwin earlier:
We have to report, as you have seen from your own media coverage, that there is significant disorder breaking out in a number of our communities across London .
As a result of that we have a lot of police officers on duty . But I do urge now that parents start contacting their children and asking themselves where their children are . There are far too many spectators who are getting in the way of the police operations to tackle criminal thuggery and burglary . And I am imploring that people within those communities actually start clearing the streets to enable my police officers to deal with the criminality that is occurring in front of them.
I can understand grievances and we've heard lots of debate about what the various issues are that are making people commit these acts . But what I have seen is pure violence, is pure gratuitous violence it is criminal damage and it is burglary . I and my officers will pursue all those engaged in criminality and we will put them in front of the courts and we will be asking the courts to send down significant sentences in relation to this form of activity.
There are many thousands of young people in London who do not commit crime and we are seeing this is blighted by the actions of a few.
But I do implore we do ask to clear the way for us to allow us to arrest those that are engaged in that activity.
Grievances, concerns, challenges in communities are things we ought to be talking about. They are conversations we need to have. It does not in any way excuse the levels of violence, the levels of damage and offences that are being committed.
I can reassure Londoners we have a lot of police officers out there. We remain steadfast and determined. I have a lot of very brave officers who will continue to police this. Just give us the space now to deal with the people that are doing it.
8.50pm: Barry Neild is witnessing worrying scenes in Hackney:
Police officer in riot gear being treated on ground behind police barricade off lower Clapton Road in Hackney. No visible injuries but her ankles were trussed together
8.46pm: Violence is escalating on the Pembury estate in Hackney. Here is a selection of Paul Lewis's recent tweets from the scene.
8.43pm: Jo Adetunji is in Seven Sisters.
At five lane junction outside the Three Sisters pub a police car just tried to drive down a road blocked by a gang of youths. The windscreen was smashed and pelted with bricks before the driver managed to speed off. Someone screamed that the police car had run a person over but it wasn't the case. Extremely dangerous for any police to go near.
8.39pm: As the violence worsened Downing Street said that David Cameron had no plans to cut short his holiday in Tuscany, reports the Guardian's Nick Watt.
One source said: "The prime minister is watching it. He is keeping a close eye on it and getting constant updates. Theresa May is back, Boris Johnson is cutting short his holiday and Nick Clegg is in town."
8.33pm: Audio from Paul Lewis on the Pembury estate in Hackney:
Paul says youths were setting fire to cars on the estate for an hour before police arrived. Once police did get here attention turned and anger "became more focussed on the police", Paul says. Journalists are not welcome either – Paul has witnessed four reporters being attacked - one quite severely.
8.23pm: Streets in Croydon are "in complete lockdown" according to the Croydon Guardian.
The paper is running a live blog on disruption in the area. Their reporter Peter Truman writes:
Swarms of youths in hoods and masks are confronting the police from every junction to London Road.
Bricks, bottles and sticks were thrown at the police line, who are armed with batons and riot shields.
Tactical support, in full riot gear, are also on the scene.
The police have set up a sterile zone between the Fox and Hounds pub and North End.
West Croydon station has been shut.
8.20pm: Met police acting commissioner Tim Godwin is speaking outside Scotland Yard.
Godwin urges parents to begin contacting their children. He police to be able to do their job on the streets. He says we are seeing "communities blighted by the actions of a few".
Godwin says police are publishing CCTV footage and other images of those who may be involved in the violence. He urges Londoners to get in touch with police in a bid to identify those involved.
8.14pm: Kilburn, in north west London, has also seen trouble reports Simon Rodgers. He says there have been 20 arrests near Kilburn High Road. Youths are roaming around the area, Simon says.
8.07pm: It appears the violence may now have spread to Birmingham. Martin Wainwright reports"
The first sign of trouble spreading beyond the London area came in Birmingham where up to 200 youths confronted a police cordon in the city centre and shop windows were smashed. Eyewitnesses said that police appeared to have the situation under control and it "does not look like London." An exclusion zone was established up to half a mile round the Bullring shopping centre which closed early.
Youths wearing hoods and scarves gathered after rumours on social network sites and via texts that things were "going to kick off" in the Midlands city Bins were thrown through the windows of Jessops, LA Fitness and a McDonald's but attempts to follow this up by looting as in Tottenham and another parts of the capital were stopped by police.
The West Midlands force said that extra officers had been deployed after Tweets and other internet messages spread messages during the afternoon. A pub landlord stood on guard at his doors during a brief flurry of missile throwing but by 7.30pm the police appeared to be in control of most of the city centre, with the large Pallisades mall by New Street station also closed and cordoned off.
This Tumblr account appears to have been set up to document the trouble in Birmingham. It shows shop windows smashed. The pictures are time-stamped from this afternoon.
On Twitter @leestanleybhm tells me the Orange shop in Birmingham was attacked. He says he saw "people running from police and police donning public order kit".
@BeckyJohnsonITV has also posted: "Hundreds of young ppl on streets in Birmingham. damage to shop fronts"
8.02pm: Peter Walker in Catford:
Big crowd of few hundred youths here (Catford is about a mile or so from Lewisham centre) now. Police in riot gear, lots of taunts and scuffles.
7.56pm: Paul Lewis is tweeting from Hackney – here's his last few updates.
• I can see TV cameras and police the other sides of barricades. Explosions here. #Hackney http://yfrog.com/h2jumppj
• Journalist here been beaten and camera stolen #Hackney
• Stolen vans being trashed. #Hackney http://yfrog.com/h4vf3mmpj
• White van on fire. Only a matter of time until it blows. #Hackney http://yfrog.com/kfs9kajkj
• Much of #Hackney Pembury estate swirling black smoke. http://yfrog.com/kiz60irj
• It is 7.50pm and already I would say #Hackney violence worse now than last night in north London http://yfrog.com/h0keddxj
Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulLewis
7.51pm: Helicopter pictures now showing clashes between police and protesters in Hackney. Police and rioters can be seen lining up at opposite ends of a wide street in Hackney, with the occasional missile being thrown. Police edging forward slowly. Hard to know where to report on at the moment.
Meanwhile the journalist Joseph Stashko is accumulating news from Lewisham in this Storify page.
7.48pm: Lisa O'Carroll reports that a "general air of panic" has descended on Camberwell, just a mile or two from both Peckham and Brixton.
One restaurant has already taken precaution of boarding up his windows in the event of trouble and hundreds of people disgorged from buses are walking church street in both directions.
Several knots of youths wearing black scarves around their mouths are walking away while other on bikes are weaving in and out of traffic heading towards elephant and castle.
Bus driver from Peckham is reporting that morrisons was ransacked. 'my son told me. I spoke to him 45m ago.'
7.40pm: Matt Taylor has just called in from central Peckham, where is with a large group:
There is group of several hundred people on the streets, members of which have just looted an ABC pharmacy in middle of Peckham.
A line of riot police have just charged the group, and it seems as if we're now in a running battle with the police. It's a very tense situation.
Over last the couple of hours the group had smashed windows while a bus was burnt out and at least four other buses damaged after they had been abandoned.
7.36pm: Tweet by @sallygainsbury – "Leaflet found outside Dalston Argos this a.m: advises on disposing of clothes,avoiding arrest http://yfrog.com/h07mxcyzj"
Here's the leaflet in question:
7.30pm: Peckham: fire crews have now arrived and are attempting to put out the blaze.
7.27pm: Peckham: The fire has spread through the the back of the building. Fire engines are slowly working their way towards the building, but it looks as if police are having to ensure the street is secure before the fire brigade can get in close.
7.23pm: The fire is in Peckham, both BBC and Sky have confirmed. It appears to have spread to the Greggs next door and looks in danger of engulfing the entire building. Lot of smoke.
7.19pm: Television pictures now showing a building ablaze in south London.
It began with a small blaze outside what looked to be a terraced house, but the flames quickly spread and now appear to have engulfed all three floors. The row of terraces contains a Gregg's which is next to the blaze.
Helicopter footage shows people exiting the neighbouring buildings via fire exits at the rear and clambering over rooftops to safety.
7.14pm: Sandra Laville reports that the weapon being carried by Mark Duggan on Thursday was a converted handgun capable of firing real ammunition.
Expedited forensic tests are being carried out on the handgun found at the scene of Duggan's fatal shooting and bullets fired by the police. It is understood that ballistics experts have established that the firearm being carried in the minicab was a lethal weapon. It was a handgun which once in its life had not been capable of firing – a replica, a starting pistol or a collector's weapon. But the firearm had been converted – as many illegal firearms purchased on the street are – in order to carry live ammunition.
The IPCC has said that they hope to have a fuller ballistics picture within 24 hours. But it is understood to be a complex picture, involving a number of tests to establish trajectory of bullets and how many were fired.
According to Sky the C019 firearms officer has said that he never claimed Duggan had shot at him.
The firearms officer is understood to have told investigators that he opened fire because he believed he was in danger from a lethal weapon. Two shots were fired, it is understood; one hit Duggan and one missed lodging in another officer's radio.
Forensic tests will establish finally whether Duggan fired his weapon at all during the attempted arrest on Thursday evening.
Rachel Cerfontyne, the IPCC commissioner in charge of the independent investigation into Duggan's fatal shooting said: "IPCC investigators are currently liaising with scientists at the Forensic Science Service regarding analysis on ballistics. We would anticipate being in a position to share verified results within the next 24 hours."
The Guardian reported on Monday that initial ballistics tests on a bullet found lodged in a firearms officer's police radio was a police issue bullet – indicating that Duggan had not opened fire at the officer.
Establishing precisely what happened when Trident officers, supported by members of the Met's specialist firearms unit stopped the minicab carrying Duggan on Thursday evening relies heavily on the ballistics results and the trajectory on the bullets fired.
Tests are also carried out to establish the range at which the shots were fired at Duggan. The Met police joined the IPCC to say that any suggestion he was killed in an execution style shooting by shots to the head was "inflammatory" and inaccurate.
The family of Mark Duggan is being kept up to date with developments, the IPCC said yesterday.
Cerfontyne said the family's concerns were not about contact with the IPCC but the lack of contact from the police in delivering news of his death to Duggan's parents.
"In the course of our contact (with the family) I know that the family – and indeed the community still have many unanswered questions," Cerfontyne said.
7.13pm: John Mulholland reports that "police have regained control of Mare Street, at least for now".
There are still large numbers of masked youths in the area. Car burned out on Ellingfort road off Mare Street. A policeman says they are busy 'sterilising the area'.
7.11pm: A Twitter update from Sky's crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, on the death of Mark Duggan. Brunt's sources say police fired two shots: one bullet hit Duggan, the second missed or went through him into a police colleague's radio.
This clears up the confusion about the bullet lodged in the officer's radio – initial reports suggested it may not have been fired by police. Importantly, Brunt reports that the officers involved in the incident have never claimed they were fired upon first.
According to Brunt, the firearms officer who shot Duggan apparently feared his life was in danger from a lethal weapon.
7.07pm: Separate pictures show a small fire in Hackney. A wooden pallet appears to be part of the blaze. A small group of people are stood nearby.
7.05pm: The news copters are showing that fires are continuing in Lewisham. These are not blazes to the extent that we saw in Tottenham. They look to be small fires which appear to have been started in or near dustbins, although it looks as if two cars, metres away from the bins, are also ablaze.
In Lewisham town centre – not immediately near the fires – police are lined up across the main street.
7.03pm: Paul Lewis has published his BBM details in a bid to understand what is happening around the capital.
We're grateful for any BBM messages you might be able to send, which will be used in confidence. Paul's BBM name is 'Paul', and his PIN number is 22416EC1.
7.01pm: The Observer editor John Mulholland is in Hackney, and he reports that violence has flared once again.
There are close to a hundred or so in running battles with police at the Bethnal Green end of mare street. Youths looting shops, including the boarded-up Texaco garage. Bottle banks on Mare Street have been upended to provide ammunition for launching at police. Many youths
walking around with spoils of their looting, swigging from bottles of Martell. Youths just arriving chant "Bethnal Green" and appear to be joining the affray, moving south down Mare Street from Hackney to Cambridge Heath Road.
Pale, the owner of the looted Texaco garage on mare street, told me: "They just barged in, took everything ... that's 24 years of my life gone. I've never seen anything like that. I didn't try and stop them, my life is worth more than that."
Even the Co-operative Funeral Care Home on Mare Street is boarded up - next door they are looting the Cash X-Change.
6.58pm: The Guardian's Duncan Clark reports from Hackney:
The police have cleared Mare Street but have told me the rioters have broken into groups.
One group appears to have gone down Morning Lane which is currently protected by three police lines plus horses.
I got through to the second line where the sergeant said there is continued rioting further down but can't get closer. The other main trouble is "up at the top", which I think means top of Mare Street.
6.51pm: The news channels are showing pictures of fires having broken out in Lewisham. It appears a car and a row of bins, all along the same street, have been set ablaze. The footage shows police officers dragging large wheely bins which are not on fire away from the others, as officers with shields and Nato helmets form a line behind them. From the helicopter footage there is no sign of any people in the immediate area.
6.45pm: Dave Hill, the Guardian's London blogger, is in Hackney, east London, where skirmishes have been occurring this afternoon.
A local police officer said shops in Hackney began closing their shutters after hearing "rumours" of trouble initially emanating from BlackBerry Messenger exchanges. Most had locked up by early afternoon as support officers began arriving in increasing numbers in the vicinity of Hackney Central railway station and three masked youths riding bicycles appeared on the main shopping thoroughfare of Mare Street.
A series of stand-offs with members of the public began shortly after a large group of police detained two men against the wall of Hackney's Old Town Hall building, now a betting shop, and a crowd gathered to watch, many of them photographing the events. After some brief skirmishes and an angry verbal tirade against a police cluster by a young woman in the graveyard to the rear of the betting shop, an officer shouted to a colleague to "get the Natos," a reference to riot helmets.
Police vehicles and officers in helmets holding riot shields eventually blocked off access to Mare Street south of its pedestrianized Narrow Way section and the railway bridge, as buses backed up along adjoining Amhurst Road and a helicopter buzzed overhead.
Reactions of onlookers varied from a man telling an officer moving a youth on to "get your hands off him, pig," to an afterschool club worker declaring to police that "these kids shouldn't be out here, they should be back in their yard," and saying that if she was in charge of dealing with rioters she'd "tear gas their asses".
6.41pm: PenGuy has used Blottr to post photos from Lewisham. The images show groups of youths, and police, on the streets. In one a chair appears to have been thrown across the road.
On Twitter @gillianhawke has posted an image from Lewisham showing a police line blocking a road. The line appears to be preventing a bus from passing. Officers are not wearing riot gear, suggesting the disturbances may be low level at the moment.
6.36pm: Matt Wells writes that there are developments in a number of areas around London at the moment. Two Guardian reporters have been in touch with news of a large disturbance in Peckham, south-east London. Police are blocking the main street in the area. Adam Vaughan says there are about 50 young men, some in ski masks and balaclavas on Rye Lane.
James Walsh is hearing reports of shops shutting down across the city, including those around the Angel, Islington, in north London as well as Stoke Newington, to the north-east, Wood Green – scene of looting on Sunday morning– and Lewisham, in the south-east of the city.
In Islington, branches of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose and the Co-operative have all closed their doors.
On Stoke Newington High Street, the Sainsbury's store has pulled its shutters down, as have some of the smaller shops and corner shops. "There's a really odd, gloomy feeling – everyone is just standing around talking about when it will kick off here", James says.
The Victoria line has been suspended between Stockwell and Brixton "due to civil unrest", according to this picture.
6.30pm: Good evening. After two nights of violence and looting following protests at the death of Mark Duggan on Saturday, police and residents are again bracing themselves for disruption.
• There have been skirmishes in Hackney, east London this afternoon, with police in riot gear confronting groups of youths. There have been skirmishes on Mare Street, with television pictures of youths using sticks to try and break windows of buses and shops. Our reporter Mark Brown says the disturbances had begun to fizzle out at around 6pm, although there remain sporadic outbreaks of stone-throwing.
• Trouble spread to many parts of London last night as disturbances continued across the capital. There was violence in Enfield, Walthamstow and Brixton, with instances of looting and vandalism. The acting Metropolitan police commissioner Tim Godwin pledged a robust response to what he described as "pure criminality" seen in recent days. The Met said Twitter users could face arrest for inciting violence.
• The home secretary, Theresa May, has condemned the "sheer criminality" of the riots. She said at least 215 people have been arrested, with 27 people charged. May, who returned from holiday today, praised the bravery of the police, saying: "The violence we've seen, the looting we've seen, the thuggery we've seen - this is sheer criminality, and let's make no bones about it."
• In Tottenham, scene of the violent clashes and blazes on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, a vigil is taking place tonight in honour of Mark Duggan. The 29-year-old father of four was shot dead by police on Thursday. Doubts have since emerged over whether Duggan was killed in an exchange of fire.
• The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has rejected claims that the government has failed to provide leadership. Many senior ministers were away from London as the rioting began. David Cameron remains on holiday in Italy. "I reject completely this notion that somehow this Government hasn't been functioning very effectively," said Clegg. He added that he had spoken to Cameron by phone this morning.
• The Independent Police Complaints Commission issued a statement which appeared to criticise the Metropolitan police.The IPCC is carrying out the investigation into the death of Mark Duggan. Rachel Cerfontyne, the commissioner overseeing the investigation, said the Duggan family's concerns were about "lack of contact from the police in delivering news of his death to Mark's parents".
We'll have the latest news from our reporters around the capital throughout the evening.
Source: The Guardian