Smoky skies in UK as riots spread
UK: The skies over Britain’s Black Country turned black with smoke
once again as the frenzy of violence spread from London to the
industrial West Midlands on Tuesday.
Vehicles were torched as hooded thugs rolled around West Bromwich
town centre, moving on foot or wheeling around on bicycles, and clashed
with police in Wolverhampton.
The Black Country, an urban sprawl to the northwest of the second
city of Birmingham, central England, is so called due to the air
pollution that turned the church spires black during Victorian times.
Known worldwide for their English Premier League football teams, West
Bromwich and Wolverhampton, two of the biggest areas in the conurbation,
caught the violence bug on Tuesday.
Youths dragged wheelie bins into the middle of the street and tipped
them over and shop windows were smashed in. Huge plumes of thick black
smoke filled the air from a car and a white van belonging to a carpet
firm that were were torched by rioters.
A dozen rioters rocked the van before setting it on fire and lined up
behind the makeshift barricade across the main street as police in riot
helmets stood on the other side, screened off by the smoke.
Television pictures showed a gang lined up behind a barricade in a
stand-off with scores of police in front of vans.
Tom Watson, the lawmaker for West Bromwich East, who has been in the
spotlight recently for his grilling of global media baron Rupert Murdoch
over the phone hacking scandal, said he was sickened by the scenes.
“A group of youths, a couple of hundred youths, met in the centre of
West Bromwich and ran down the high street and turned two vehicles in a
position so that the high street was barricaded,” he told Sky News
“They’ve created a situation that has left a lot of families in West
Bromwich feeling very vulnerable and frightened tonight and it’s utterly
disgraceful and the people that have done it need to be dealt with.
“We’re not an affluent area but we are generally a very happy area.
We’re not going to put up with this. It’s completely unacceptable.” Many
shops in West Bromwich closed early.
Police said they dispersed the large group of youths in West Bromwich
and closed off a number of roads.
Meanwhile in Wolverhampton, only a short distance away, officers were
tackling groups of males in the city centre as some shops were attacked.
Buses diverted away from the scene. Riot police clashed with hooded
youths, charging at them with their riot shields as more yobs piled in.
“Police in Wolverhampton have responded to reports of a large group of
people in the city centre,” West Midlands Police said. BIRMINGHAM,