London, August 10: Armed with swords and hockey sticks, over 700 Sikhs took to the streets to protect the Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Southall as the police in the UK were stretched to maintain law and order in London.
Local vigilante groups have been formed in various areas in London to protect homes and business establishments that have been vandalised by rioters - mainly of Afro-Caribbean origin - in London over the past four days.
These include shops owned by businessmen of Indian origin in Harrow and Ealing.
Southall in west London has a large population of Indian origin, which rallied together when, apprehending violence, elders in the gurdwara appealed to the community for help.
Amarjit Singh Klair from nearby Hounslow, who helped rally the men, told the Daily Mail: “We are working along side the police, they're doing what they can but they are stretched. Why shouldn't we defend our homes, businesses and places of worship? This is our area. There's lots of talk about it kicking off here. But we're ready for them.”
Groups of Sikh men stood guard at different parts of the town, keeping in touch via their mobiles.
An unnamed man told the paper: “They caught us off guard last night but we still managed to get people together to protect the area.
“We saw them putting on their balaclavas preparing to jump out of three cars but we charged at them and managed to chase them off.”