London riots spread to Jewish neighborhoods

(JTA) — Rioting in London spread to heavily Jewish neighborhoods.

Stores in the Jewish communities of Stamford Hill and Golders Green were urged to close and secure merchandise Monday night as unrest that began Saturday night in the north London neighborhood of Tottenham spread throughout London.

Residents of Tottenham’s Chasidic Orthodox community reportedly gathered on the street to heckle police over Shabbat, The Guardian reported.

But following warnings from local rabbis and the Shomrim Orthodox security service, most members of the Jewish community stayed away from the riots, according to the Jewish Chronicle. They were advised that they could go to synagogue, however.

No synagogues have been reported damaged in the riots, though some Jewish-owned stores have been ransacked, according to the newspaper.

A YouTube video showed some Orthodox young men handing out challah to passing residents from a cardboard box.

At least two stabbings were reported Monday night in Stamford Hill.

The rioting began Aug. 6 following the shooting of an alleged drug dealer, Mark Duggan. The violence spread first to youth in poorer neighborhoods.

Some observers believe that the riots are the result of a weak economy, widespread unemployment and deep budget cuts targeting the poorest communities.

Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his vacation in Italy, returning to London to convene an emergency Cabinet meeting to handle the crisis.

The looting, riots and arson attacks occurred just miles from the new stadiums and athletes’ villages being constructed for the 2012 Olympic Games.
 

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