EDL thinks they can quell riots (they just want to beat people up)
LONDON (AP) — The leader of a British far-right group says its members are taking to the streets of British cities in an attempt to quell riots that have spread across the country for four nights.
Stephen Lennon, leader of the English Defense League, told The Associated Press that up to 1,000 members planned to turn out in Luton, where the group is based, and others areas that have suffered unrest, including the northwestern city of Manchester.
Lennon said some members had were already carrying out patrols trying to deter rioters, and that hundreds more would join them Wednesday.
“We’re going to stop the riots — police obviously can’t handle it,” Lennon told the AP.
The far-right group was cited as an inspiration to Anders Behring Breivik who has confessed to the July 22 massacre in Norway.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LONDON (AP) — Thousands more police officers flooded London streets Tuesday in a bid to end Britain’s worst rioting in a generation as nervous shopkeepers closed early and some residents stood guard to protect their neighborhoods. The unrest spread across central and northern England on a fourth night of violence driven by poor, diverse and brazen crowds of young people.
Scenes of ransacked stores, torched cars and blackened buildings frightened and outraged Britons just a year before London is to host the summer Olympic Games, and brought demands for a tougher response from law enforcement.
London’s Metropolitan Police department put thousands more officers in the streets and said that by Wednesday there would be 16,000 — almost triple the number present Monday. Dozens of police were seen combing through the Canning Town area of east London as officers hunted for potential new flash points, but the department acknowledged it could not guarantee an end to the violence.
Though London saw no new unrest late Tuesday, but the chaos spread to other cities. A police station in the central England city of Nottingham was firebombed by a 40-strong mob, and hundreds of youths battled police in the northwestern city of Manchester.
Stores, offices and nursery schools across London closed early amid fears of fresh rioting. Many usually busy streets had an eerie calm as cafes, restaurants and pubs also decided to shut down for the night.
Many shops had their metal blinds pulled down, while other business owners rushed to secure plywood over their windows before nightfall.
Some London residents prepared to defend their homes and stores. Outside a Sikh temple in Southall, west London, residents stood guard and vowed to defend their place of worship if mobs of young rioters appeared. Another group marched through Enfield, in north London, aiming to deter looters.
In east London’s Bethnal Green district, convenience store owner Adnan Butt, 28, said residents were tense.
“People are all at home — they’re scared” of the rioters, he said.