British PM to hold crisis talks on riots, cleanup starts

August 9, 2011 07:08

LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron was to hold crisis talks on Tuesday after three nights of riots, looting and arson by masked, hooded youths that wrecked shopping centers in many parts of London and spread to three other cities.

Neighborhoods across the capital faced a massive clean-up of smashed glass, bricks, bottles and gutted buildings as police reinforcements reclaimed the streets from the youths who had coordinated the looting via mobile phones and social media.

The rioting -- the worst in Britain for decades -- spread to districts across London, and what police called copycat violence broke out in Bristol in the southwest, Birmingham in the Midlands and the northwest port of Liverpool.

Cameron broke off his holiday in Italy on Monday to fly home. He was due to chair a meeting of Cobra, the government's crisis committee, at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) to work out a strategy to prevent more violence and consider why the riots broke out and spread so fast, taking the authorities by surprise.

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