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Vigilantes take to London streets

world Updated: Aug 10, 2011 08:06 IST

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Defiant Londoners took to the streets in their hundreds to defend their communities against the looting and arson which have consumed the British capital over the last four days.

Hundreds of Sikhs, some dressed in traditional outfits, gathered outside the their gurdwara, or temple, in Southall, west London, yesterday after earlier rumours circulated it was next on the looters' hitlist.

The group organised motorcycle patrols and monitored the train station for potential troublemakers, according to an AFP reporter.

Around 200 locals in Enfield, the north London borough at the heart of previous attacks, strode through the area to "protect their streets", an AFP correspondent explained.

Amateur video footage released today showed a group of around 100 men running down an Enfield street chanting "England, England, England".

The group earlier became involved in an altercation with a youth carrying a hockey stick, but the situation was resolved after a majority of the mob called for calm.

A similar number of football fans congregated in the south-east suburb of Eltham, also rumoured to be a likely hot spot.

"This is a white working class area and we are here to protect our community," one man told the Guardian newspaper.

"We are here to help the police. My mum is terrified after what she saw on the television in the last three days and we decided that it's not going to happen here," he added.

Meanwhile, mainly Turkish shopkeepers in the north London districts of Hackney and Kentish Town sat outside their shops into the early hours, many with makeshift weapons by their side.