U.K. riots spread to Manchester and other cities

With 16,000 Metropolitan Police officers on the streets, London was largely quiet on Monday night. But rioting broke out in cities to the north.

Crowds of young people looted shops and set fire to buildings and cars in Manchester, Salford, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham, the BBC reports.

Among the incidents: an upscale Miss Selfridge store was set on fire in Manchester city center; a male gang firebombed Canning Circus police station in central Nottingham; a BBC radio car was set on fire in Salford and a TV cameraman was attacked; and young people smashed shop windows and set fire to cars in West Bromwich.

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan told the BBC that his officers had faced "extraordinary levels of violence from groups of criminals intent on committing widespread disorder" on Tuesday.

The 16,000 officers called into action in London on Tuesday night – five times the size of the force on a typical night – are the biggest police presence in the capital in history, the U.K. Guardian reports. Police leave has been canceled, and similar staffing levels will be maintained through Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police said it would consider firing plastic bullets, never before used on the mainland, to stop rioters, the Daily Telegraph reports.

One civilian has died and 111 Met officers have been injured in the four days of rioting since Saturday’s protest in London’s Tottenham neighborhood turned violent. The crowd had been protesting the police shooting of a local man, Mark Duggan, two days earlier. Rioters have attacked police with bottles, planks, bricks and even driven cars at them. Five police dogs have also been hurt.

(More from GlobalPost: London riots cause first fatality)

British Prime Minister David Cameron met with police officers and emergency services personnel on Tuesday afternoon and issued a warning to rioters. "You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment,” he said. Cameron has recalled Parliament to meet in an emergency session on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, shopkeepers closed stores early in the London neighborhoods of Peckham, Rotherhithe, Ealing and Hackney and some small theaters canceled performances, although West End productions went on with their shows.