In response to four days of riots in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron has authorized police to use whatever methods necessary to curb the spreading anarchy. Saying on Wednesday that “nothing is off the table,” Cameron noted that police are already using rubber bullets and batons, and that water cannons were on standby.
“This continued violence is simply not acceptable, and it will be stopped,” Cameron said. “We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets.”
A total of 16,000 police officers are currently in the capital, a force massive enough to keep London relatively quite Tuesday night. Looting restarted in Ealing, but neighborhoods like Hackney and Eltham, which saw massive disorder on Monday, remained calm. Meanwhile, London jails are filled to capacity.
English police have never had to use water cannons before, but the crowd-control method has been employed historically in many European countries, as well as the United States.
Demonstrators have thrown firebombs at police officers and torched property, cars and London city buses. In Tottenham, where the violence started Saturday night, rioters smashed store windows and burned buildings to the ground.
Rioting and looting has been continuing in the British capital since the weekend, when angry citizens of Tottenham marched to police headquarters to protest the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan. The anarchy then spread to Hackney, Peckham and Lewisham on Monday afternoon and by nightfall reached the neighborhoods of Ealing, Camden and Croydon.
Nearly 800 people have been arrested in London at last report.