LONDON – The gritty north London neighborhood of Tottenham exploded in anger Saturday night after a young man was shot to death by police.
Two patrol cars, a building and a double-decker bus were torched as rioters clashed with officers in front of the Tottenham Police Station, where people had gathered to demand “justice” for the death of a 29-year-old killed in an apparent gunfight.
“It’s really bad,” said local resident David Akinsanya, 46. “There are two police cars on fire. I’m feeling unsafe.”
Sirens could be heard across the city as authorities rushed reinforcements to the scene. In Tottenham, shop windows were smashed as residents looted the stores, pushing shopping carts full of stolen goods down the street.
Officers in riot gear and on horseback pushed up against the demonstrators. Akinsanya put the number of demonstrators at between 400 and 500. Police said there were about 300 people gathered.
Miles from the tourist hot spots of central London, Tottenham is one of the most deprived areas in all of England, with nearly half of all children living in poverty, according to campaigners.
In 1985, Tottenham was the scene of a deadly riot after a woman suffered heart failure when her home was raided by the police. The Tottenham riots were among the most violent in the country’s history, with one officer stabbed to death as he tried to protect firefighters and nearly 60 others hospitalized.