Hackney town hall evacuated

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The Independent Online

A town hall has been evacuated and closed amid fears of riot attacks.

Around 20 police officers stood guard around the entrance to Hackney town hall, on Mare Street, in east London.

Most shops on the road were closed.

Many of those that remained open, towards Bethnal Green, pulled shutters down as far as possible without obstructing the door.

The area, near Hackney Central station, was one of the worst hit in yesterday's riots.

Shops were also closed, with shutters down, on nearby Well Street.

Felicity J Lord estate agents on Mare Street remained open despite having a smashed glass door.

A Burberry outlet store in nearby Chatham Place was closed with its shutters down.

A large Tesco Metro supermarket, just off Mare Street, usually a hive of activity, was closed and its car park mostly empty.

Among the shops closed were two Iceland supermarkets, Primark, JD Sports and Marks and Spencer.

A Ladbrokes bookmaker and an optician's, both hit by looters yesterday, had their windows boarded up.

There was a large police presence on Mare Street, north of Hackney Central station.

Around 10 officers stood at the junction between the street and Clarence Road, where a car was set on fire and riot police were pelted with glass bottles yesterday.

Around four officers patrolled Clarence Road.

James Davies, 36, a shopkeeper at C&C decor on Mare Street said he would shut his store down within the next half an hour as he had heard rumours from staff that there will be more riots this evening.

"Our Saturday boy, who's 17, lives up by Clarence Road and said he's hearing on BlackBerry Messenger that there will be trouble tonight and he was pretty accurate yesterday," he said.

The DIY store is next to a large bus depot.

"Some of the bus drivers we know have been coming in saying that it's going to happen again tonight," said Mr Davies.