Riots hit Britain again on Tuesday evening for the fourth night in succession, with significant violence in the northern industrial city of Manchester as well as minor violence in London.
Police had posted 16 000 officers on the streets of London to prevent a repeat of Monday night's scene of arson, looting, muggings and assaults that took place as hundreds of rioters clashed with police in many parts of the city.
In Manchester city centre, police were engaged in running battles through the early and mid-evening with a crowd which eyewitnesses said was about 2 000 strong. Shop windows were smashed and a women's clothes shop was petrol-bombed, and several businesses – including a jeweller’s and clothes shops – were looted.
Earlier police had clashed with a much smaller group of youths in the neighbouring city of Salford, where a community building was set on fire and several businesses attacked.
Police in the West Midlands reported trouble in Birmingham city centre, where there had been trouble on Monday night, and also in the town of West Bromwich and the nearby city of Wolverhampton, which had both been spared violence on earlier nights.
In Birmingham, a 200-strong gang of youths with sticks was confronted by riot police amid reports of attacks on shops and a car being set on fire.
Police in Wolverhampton had made 20 arrests by mid-evening. In West Bromwich, hooded youths blocked a road and set fire to dustbins but later dispersed after burning two vehicles.
In the east London area of Canning Town, some youths were reported to have built barricades and stoned passing vehicles.
Also in London, theatres in riot-hit areas such as the Battersea Arts Center, the Dalston Arcola and the Greenwich Playhouse, cancelled their evening's performances, and shops in many parts of London closed earlier than usual. Many office workers left earlier to avoid being in the city if rioting began again.
Some commentators say the riots are a reflection of the alienation and resentment of many young people in Britain, where one-million people from the ages of 16 to 24 are officially unemployed, the most since the deep recession of the mid-1980s.