Images of rioting and looting across London have been beamed across the world just a year ahead of the capital hosting the Olympic Games.
Inbound tourism faces an uphill struggle to overcome images of burning double decker buses, blazing shops and running battles with riot police on the streets.
The violence in London, which spread to cities including Bristol, Birmingham and Liverpool, was portrayed in the media in Italy as resembling the terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
Russia’s state-owned newspaper Rossiikava Gazeta described the violence as a “hungry mutiny” taking place in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
Italy’s Corriere della Sera described a night of “urban guerrilla war” and added: “London is not just the fairy tale of Kate and Pippa. There’s also Tottenham.”
The violence featured heavily in US newspapers with the New York Times featuring a picture of a burnt out store in Tottenham.
Home secretary Theresa May described the violence as “sheer criminality” as prime minister David Cameron prepared to host a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency planning committee this morning.
More than 13,000 police officers are due on the streets of the capital tonight following criticism of their attempts to quell the disturbances.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is cutting short his holiday and is due back at lunchtime on Tuesday.
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