Vigilantes take to London streets

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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, many dressed in traditional outfits, gathered outside the their Gurdwara, or temple, in Southall, west London, on Tuesday after earlier rumours circulated it was next on the looters' hitlist.

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 said.

The group became involved in a "minor skirmish" with a group of youths which it accused of taking part in criminal activity, the Guardian reported.

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

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.

© 2011 AFP

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