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The Pembury Estate became the epicentre of violence in Hackney, east London, as local youths took control of the area from 6pm, using burning vehicles and debris as barricades.
The disturbance had moved to the estate from nearby Mare Street and London Fields, the scene of earlier looting.
Police were overwhelmed. Forming a line several hundred metres away, they watched as youths ransacked the area.
A van was broken into and driven into a wall. Within minutes, it was on fire. A motorbike was overturned and set ablaze beside another burning car.
There appeared to be more women participating in the riot than on previous nights, with some forming lines to help ferry debris for the flaming barricades. There were no TV cameras in sight, as crews struggled to access the scene of rioting.
Bystanders and a number of journalists were also attacked; a photographer was dragged to the ground and beaten by four youths. People taking pictures were asked if they were "Feds" and some mobile phones were smashed.
Attempts by police to quell the situation around 8.30pm failed.
As lines of dozens of riot police marched into the estate, they were met by a hail of bricks, stones and bottles. At times there was hand-to-hand combat, as youths ripped off tree branches and used sticks to club police, who quickly retreated.
Youths used wheelie bins to ram riot police who, although in large numbers, were not in control. Twice, isolated police officers escaped serious injury. One officer became detached from his unit, tripped, and was attacked by a mob with sticks. He was rescued by colleagues seconds later.
In a more serious incident, a police officer in a solitary parked vehicle was attacked. His car windscreen was entirely smashed as a young man scaled the roof and pounded it with a brick. Surrounded and unable to see out of his window, the officer drove his smashed car through the crowd, and a hail of stones and bottles.
Bystanders cheered. "I've been wanting to see us do this to the Feds for years," said one man, in this thirties.
Around 8.45pm, the crowds dissipated. Hundreds were chased across Hackney Downs park by mounted police.
London Riots: Blame Twitter -- or BlackBerry Messenger? By MARK SCHONE Aug. 8, 2011
PHOTO: Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London. Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London Aug. 7, 2011. As riots continue throughout London, British police have threatened to bring charges against those who use social media to incite looting and violence.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanaugh confirmed to U.K. media that officers were looking at Twitter as they investigated the riots, which began after the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London on Thursday.
But some observers have noted that the social media that has really helped "organize" the looting is not Twitter or even Facebook, so central to uprisings throughout the Arab world earlier this year. Many of the teenagers running through London's streets are communicating by BlackBerry Messenger. Just before Duggan died Thursday, he sent a final message to his girlfriend via BlackBerry Messenger, "The Feds are following me." Ever since, according to Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe, "while Twitter has largely been the venue of spectators to violence and is a handy public venue for journalists to observe, it would appear the non-public BlackBerry BBM messaging network has been the method of choice for organising it."
Butcher notes that BlackBerrys cost less than smartphones and that BBM is both essentially cost-free and invisible to police. In order to communicate, BBM users must exchange PINs, but their conversations are private. They can spread their PINs via SMS, Twitter or other means.
BlackBerry made a specific effort to market its product among black youth in London, recently sponsoring a "secret gig" in London featuring top U.K. rappers.
Blogger Jonathan Akwue said he didn't quite understand the appeal of BlackBerrys among London teens until his "far cooler 17-year-old nephew" explained that BBM was "the main reason for their popularity." The rioters seem to be as young as the BBM users. More than 200 alleged rioters have been arrested so far, and two thirds of those for whom ages have been given are 21 or under.
Akwue was the first to note that BBM messages had been circulating since the Duggan shooting. "BBM was also the channel used to spread the word that the riot had started," wrote Akwue, "and from what I can tell on Twitter, it appears to be the means by which communications continue to be shared." Both Butcher and Akwue have archived reams of messages in which Londoners use Twitter to talk about BBM's role in the violence and looting, and even to offer to retweet BBM pins.
"Sending out BBM broadcasts about linking ukp at 4 pm to cause more havoc," writes one tweeter. Another says, ":o jd sports Tottenham hale just got robbed go on bbm to see da pics!" Another writes, "People had in their bbm status 'Going Tottenham riot, who's on it" like it was a casual street party. A fourth said, "According to my bbm, now something's starting in wood green."
Most telling perhaps are tweets that say, "BBM Where Ma News of Da Day Comes From" and "The news ain't even showing the extent of what's actually happening on the streets of tottenham? BBM is doing da ting right now!"
"Technology is ruining us," concludes tweeter Jessica Kennedy. "Bare man organizing riots over bbm."
Research in Motion, the manufacturer of BlackBerry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News. RIM's Patrick Spence, managing director of global sales and regional marketing, issued a statement saying, "We feel for those impacted by this weekend's riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can. As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials."
London riots: world reacts to city's 'hungry mutiny'
The riots in London have made headlines around the world - here's a round-up of the coverage from our international correspondents.
The front pages of Spain's El Pais and Portugals Publico newspapers
By John-Paul Ford Rojas
2:26PM BST 08 Aug 2011
Pictures and descriptions of the disturbances feature prominently in the Australian media, reports Bonnie Malkin, with Sydney's tabloid Daily Telegraph newspaper running the picture of a burning double-decker bus on page two.
The paper says: "We can be thankful that Sydney is not on such an edge that anarchy is but a protest away. As events in London demonstrate, not every major city enjoys our cohesive qualities."
An opinion piece posted on the Australia Broadcasting Corporation's website asked: "Where were the statesmen as London burned?:"
It continued: "London burned and meanwhile prime minister David Cameron fiddled with the foil on a bottle of pinot grigio in Tuscany; deputy prime minister Nick Clegg quietly recovered at home from his getaway in sunny France; and chancellor of the exchequer George Osbourne remained ensconced at a hotel somewhere in Beverly Hills.
"Britain's already shaky confidence in its leaders, several of whom have spent the summer trying to wriggle free of their association with the hacking scandal, will be further disturbed by the determination of the nation's powerbrokers to cling to the sun bed.
Italy's Corriere della Sera runs the story on page one, reports Nick Squires, with a photo of a policeman silhouetted against a burning building.
The newspaper describes a "night of urban guerilla war" in a city "struggling to deal with youth gangs and incapable of resolving its latent conflicts".
It adds: "London is not just the fairy tale of Kate and Pippa. There's also Tottenham..."
Il Messagero compares the scenes in Tottenham to the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, Beirut during the Lebanese civil war and the troubled banlieues of Paris, as well as the riots that hit the UK in the 1980s under the Thatcher government.
With London the home to tens of thousands of Poles, Poland’s media has given extensive coverage to the riots, writes Matthew Day. Leading newspaper Rzeczpospolita blames the “failure of multicultural society”.
Russia’s state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper describes the violence as a "hungry mutiny" taking place in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, amid falling living standards, higher food prices, and joblessness, reports Andrew Osborn.
It makes a comparison with the "French scenario" when several years ago youths in Paris took to the streets for weeks on end, burning cars and clashing with police.
The Moskovskie Novosti newspaper called the trouble “a pogrom” and quotes a shop assistant originally from Africa saying: “I can imagine this kind of thing happening in Somalia but to see it in London was strange."
Most of Spain's national newspapers make room for the story on their front pages, says Fiona Govan, with El Pais using a large image of burnt-out cars and describing the disturbances as "racial violence".
La Razón has a photo of a burning building, captioned “Night of violence in London”, describing Tottenham as a depressed area and talks of police impotence.
Portugal’s Publico newspaper has a large photograph of riot police marching in front of a burning building and describes tension on the streets leading to a scene of devastation.
The riots have attracted prominent coverage in New York, reports Jon Swaine. On Sunday, two spectacular photos of a London bus and high street shops in flames made up half of page 12 of the New York Post, with an accompanying story headlined "Rioters run wild in London". The New York Times ran a fairly lengthy dispatch from Ravi Somaiya, one of its London correspondents, on page 7, titled "Shooting by police sets off riot in London".
Today The New York Times features a large picture of Tottenham Allied Carpets' burned out shell as its front page image, with the caption "Aftermath of a riot". The second wave of disturbances prompted a longer piece from Somaiya on page 4, titled "London sees twin perils converging to fuel riot".
"Frustration in this impoverished neighbourhood, as in many others in Britain, has mounted as the government’s austerity budget has forced deep cuts in social services," he wrote. "At the same time, a widely held disdain for law enforcement here, where a large Afro-Caribbean population has felt singled out by the police for abuse, has only intensified through the drumbeat of scandal that has racked Scotland Yard in recent weeks and led to the resignation of the force’s two top commanders".
The Washington Post said the "sprawling metropolis" had suffered its "worst bout of civil unrest in years".