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It has been a dramatic weekend in Tottenham, north London, where the gathering of around 300 people in the streets turned into an overnight riot that saw petrol bombs being thrown at police while vehicles and building were set ablaze.
The Daily Telegraph could report that 26 police officers were injured, at least one of them left with serious head injuries, while 42 people have been arrested. According to the London Ambulance Service, a total of 10 people had been treated and nine were admitted to hospital.
A gathering of around 120 people had earlier Saturday staged a march from the local Broadwater Farm area to Tottenham police station in protest of the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan who was shot by police in a gun fire exchange on Thursday. A friend of Mr Duggan told news media that marchers had wanted “justice for the family” and “something had to be done.”
“This guy was not violent. Yes, he was involved in things but he was not an aggressive person. He had never hurt anyone,” said the 53-year-old marcher.
Another member of the original protest, Vanessa Robinson, said the demonstration outside the police station had begun peacefully. She told the BBC that the situation had then turned into “absolute chaos.”
What police officers described as ‘missiles’ were thrown at the police station and what appeared to be young, mask-clad people began to throw petrol bombs, bricks and anything they could get their hands on off the street at officers who were attempting to calm down the masses.
In the early hours of Sunday local time, many rioters had moved to the nearby retail park where they were seen looting shops. Sky News reporter Simon Newton, who was at the scene, said he saw youth wheeling out televisions and bagfuls of clothes. Police were not in the area.
During the violent escalation, two police cars and a double decker bus was set on fire. A branch of Aldi supermarket was also torched and Sky News believes the looters had targeted shops in the aftermath. Also residential areas were disturbed.
Local politician David Lammy made a statement on his website that said “We already have one grieving family in our community and further violence will not heal that pain.”
Mr. Lammy appealed for calm while the investigation takes place. “The Tottenham community and Mark Duggan’s family and friends need to understand what happened on Thursday evening when Mark lost his life. To understand those facts, we must have calm.”
In another statement, Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne, of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said “I understand the distress that the shooting of Mark Duggan has caused to his family and in the community and that people need answers about what happened to him.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Mayor of London Boris Johnson said to the BBC: “Violence and destruction of property will do nothing to facilitate [the IPCC] investigation and we urge those involved to respect the rule of law.”
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