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London riots: Thousands of police flood streets to quell violence

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LONDON (AP) — Britain's prime minister hammered out a tough line against rioters Wednesday, determined to restore order and confidence on Britain's streets as extra police officers flooded the capital for a second day.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Even as Prime Minister David Cameron promised not to let a "culture of fear" take hold, tensions flared in Birmingham, where a murder probe was opened after three men were killed in a hit-and-run reportedly as they took to the streets to deter potential rioters.

"We needed a fightback and a fightback is under way," Cameron said in a somber televised statement outside his Downing Street office after a meeting of the nation's crisis committee. As if to underline his resolve, he underlined "nothing is off the table" — including water cannon, commonly used in Northern Ireland but never deployed in mainland Britain.

The number of arrests in London alone climbed to 805, with courts staffing around the clock to process alleged looters, vandals and thieves — including one as young as 11. Cameron has recalled Parliament from its summer recess for an emergency debate on the riots Thursday.

Outside the capital, in England's second largest city of Birmingham, police launched a murder investigation into the deaths of three men hit by a car. Residents said the dead men, aged 20 to 31, were members of Birmingham's South Asian communities who had been patrolling their neighborhood to keep it safe from looters.

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