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Prince Charles And Camilla Tour Riot-Stricken Areas

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CHARLES CAMILLA
Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall visit the scene of the Croydon Riots, London, Britain - 17 Aug 2011 | CP


Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on Wednesday visited the area where the England riots started, but not everyone in the neighbourhood welcomed the couple.

Some residents of Tottenham, an area in north London, said it was sad that it took violent riots to prompt a royal visit.

“It's all very nice having the PR of, um, Charles … so it's all good for us, but at the end of the day we want the people that can make change, that can do the difference, you know, that can influence,” said Dymond Allen, a youth worker.

Violence rocked London and other cities following the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service on Aug. 4. Details of the shooting are still in dispute.

The royals witnessed first-hand the scars left by the looting and burning in Tottenham, as well as in Croydon, Lambeth and Hackney. The civil unrest was the worst to hit the U.K. in years.

They met families whose homes were burned down, emergency services workers who were on the front line of the London riots, and volunteers who have been helping those affected get their lives back on track.

Among those they met were Barbara Bereda-Malik, 45, and her husband Omar Malik, 47, whose apartment above a carpet store was destroyed by fire. "It was really nice to see him and see they're concerned about our situation," Bereda-Malik said after the meeting.

During the visit, Prince Charles echoed the concerns that have been raised by others, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, that angry, disenfranchised youth must be kept busy. He announced that his charity, The Prince's Trust, will be providing a £2.5-million ($4 million) investment in communities hardest hit by the riots, including Manchester, Birmingham and the London communities of Hackney, Tottenham and Croydon.

The prince commented on how he was impressed by how communities have pulled together.

“But, the other thing I think, is the sheer terror that people experienced and still the unease is still there wondering what might happen at any stage. But, I think the other thing that's important to remember, as many were saying, is that it's a small minority that created this mayhem,” he said.