(London) – One police officer was hospitalized and seven others were injured during riots in the deprived Tottenham area of London, police said Sunday, after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze.
The area in London’s north exploded in anger Saturday night after a gathering to protest the Thursday shooting by police of the 29-year-old.
Two patrol cars, a building and a double-decker bus were torched as rioters clashed with officers in front of Tottenham Police Station, where people had gathered to demand “justice” for Mark Duggan.
Sirens could be heard across the city as authorities rushed reinforcements to the scene. Shop windows were smashed as residents looted stores, pushing shopping carts full of stolen goods down the street.
Police said around 300 people took part in the earlier demonstration.
Scotland Yard police commander Stephen Watson on Sunday described the scenes as “distressing,” but stressed public safety was “paramount.”
He said in a statement that police “are aware of raised tensions … which are understandable following the tragic death.”
“What we experienced earlier on yesterday evening was a peaceful protest outside Tottenham police station — there was no indication it would deteriorate in this way. For those who involved themselves in this level of violence, there is no excuse.”
Miles from the tourist hotspots of central London, Tottenham is one of England’s most deprived areas.
In 1985, it was the scene of one of the most violent riots in the country’s history after a local woman suffered heart failure when her home was raided by police. One officer was stabbed to death as he tried to protect firefighters and nearly 60 others hospitalized.