Hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar.

LONDON (AP) — A wave of violence and looting raged across London and spread to three other major British cities Tuesday, as authorities struggled to contain the country’s worst unrest since race riots set the capital ablaze in the 1980s.

In London, groups of young people rampaged for a third straight night, setting buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps alight, looting stores and pelting police officers with bottles and fireworks. The spreading disorder was an unwelcome warning of the possibility of violence during London’s 2012 Summer Olympics, less than a year away.

Police called in hundreds of reinforcements — and made a rare decision to deploy armored vehicles in some of the worst-hit districts — but still struggled to keep pace with the chaos unfolding at flashpoints across London, in the central city of Birmingham, the western city of Bristol and the northwestern city of Liverpool. . . .

In London’s Hackney neighborhood, hundreds of youths left a trail of burning trash and shattered glass. Looters ransacked a convenience store, filling plastic shopping bags with alcohol, cigarettes, candy and toilet paper.

East London’s diversity was on display amid the charred hulks of cars and the smell of burning plastic. Some looters were young women with manicured nails and customized BlackBerry smart phones. Others wore dreadlocks and stained shirts or appeared to be homeless.

“This is the uprising of the working class. We’re redistributing the wealth,” said Bryn Phillips, a 28-year-old self-described anarchist, as young people emerged from the store with chocolate bars and ice cream cones.