After three days of violence and looting, British Prime Minister David Cameron has recalled Parliament from its summer recess, and ordered 16,000 police officers to restore order on the streets of London. More than 525 people have already been arrested for rioting, filling every holding cell in the city.

Over the weekend, a peaceful demonstration in Tottenham protesting the fatal police shooting of a 29-year-old black man turned violent. Participants attacked nearby officers in retaliation and set several police cars on fire. Since then, a wave of “copycat criminal activity” has spread throughout London and into nearby cities in what is being called the country’s worst unrest since the race riots of the 1980s.

Each night, the rioters — mostly young men — take to the streets to commit disorder. While some claimed to be protesting government spending cuts and unemployment, others simply enjoyed setting fires and looting stores. Earlier today, the riots claimed their first death — a 26-year-old who was found shot dead in a car.

“The violence we have seen is simply inexcusable. Ordinary people have had their lives turned upside down by this mindless thuggery,” police commander Christine Jones told the Associated Press.

[BBC]