What started out as demonstrations against police brutality on Saturday evening in Tottenham after what is believed to be a wrongful death brought against Duggan by the Metropolitan Police, escalated into a ballistic ball of violence. At 5:30pm British time, BBC reports, nearly 120 people, including family members and friends of Duggan, marched to the Tottenham police station in north London in a peaceful march, calling for “justice” and an investigation into the killing.
Two hours later gangs took the cause of “protecting their people” into their own hands and began attacking police cars, breaking into shops, and looting stores around Tottenham.
The police believe that the violence was not connected to the demonstration, but rather local gangs trying to use the protest as an opportunity to start trouble.
“We believe that certain elements, who were not involved with the vigil, took the opportunity to commit disorder and physically attack police officers, verbally abuse fire brigade personnel and destroy vehicles and buildings,” London police stated in reports.
By Sunday evening, rioting and looting had spread to other parts of London, including Brixton in south London, Enfield in north London and Oxford Street, the shopping district, in central London. Police force has been escalated across the city due to the onset of “copycat” criminal activity throughout the city. In addition, arsonists set fire to apartment buildings and cars throughout the city.
On Tuesday morning Home Secretary Theresa May stated that the city will not stand for “thugery” and pledged to make sure that culprits are held responsible.
“The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon, the way we police in Britain is through consent of communities,” May told the press.
More than 200 individuals have been arrested since the violence began on Saturday.
Watch reports from BBC about the riots in London here: