In one of the worst riots in the UK, mob torched several vehicles and buildings and clashed with security forces in an economically poor area of London overnight, injuring 26 officers, after police shot dead a 29-year-old local man.
The protest was against the Thursday killing of local resident Mark Duggan by police teams dealing with gun crime in Tottenham, dominated by the Afro-Caribbean community.
Over 26 police officers were injured as angry groups of people engaged in pitched fights with riot police.
The police said 42 people were taken into custody. Emergency services worked to restore order and the situation was brought under control by early Sunday morning.
About 300 people had gathered outside a police station on the Tottenham High Road on Saturday evening demanding “justice”.
The protest was initially peaceful but turned violent overnight as mobs went on a rampage outside the police station.
“The rioting in Tottenham last night was utterly unacceptable,” a Downing Street spokesman said in a statement.
“There is no justification for the aggression the police and the public faced, or for the damage to property. There is now a police investigation into the rioting and we should let that process happen,” the statement said.
The last time similar trouble erupted in the area was in 1985, when a police officer was hacked to death with a machete in Tottenham, after he was set upon by a mob.
The riots were sparked by the death of 49-year-old Cynthia Jarrett after four police officers burst into her home.
Tottenham MP David Lammy said: “A community that was already hurting has had its heart ripped out. There are people homeless and we don’t know if there are fatalities in the houses.”
Lammy said that shops and homes have been “smashed to pieces by mindless people.”
“This is a disgrace and must stop. This is an attack on Tottenham, on people shopkeepers, woman, children, now standing homeless. The scenes currently taking place in our community are not representative of the vast majority of people in Tottenham,” he added.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I condemn utterly the violence in Tottenham last night. “Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated, and the Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order.”
The London Ambulance Service said a total of 10 people had been treated and nine had been taken to hospital.
Shops in the area were looted with people seen pushing away shopping trolleys full of goods.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission spokesperson 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.
“This case (Mark Duggan) was referred to the IPCC immediately and we declared it an independent investigation and sent our investigators straight to the scene in Tottenham, where they took control and remained until late Friday night, supervising the forensic examinations. An independent investigation means that all aspects are carried out by IPCC investigators”.