Photos: Unrest in London

A wave of violence and looting has raged across London, as authorities struggled to contain the country's worst unrest since race riots set the capital ablaze in the 1980s. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Despite three days of rioting and looting in London, Olympic organizers were going ahead with a series of events to prepare for the 2012 Games.

A women's beach volleyball tournament began as scheduled at Horse Guards Parade, with players in bikinis competing on a specially made sand court a short distance from Prime Minister David Cameron's 10 Downing Street residence.

But organizers decided to use two courts instead of one for Tuesday's 12 matches so that play could finish 90 minutes early, allowing spectators and staff to leave before dark.

FIVB Beach Volleyball director Angelo Squeo consulted with high-ranking London Olympic organizers and police before taking the decision. Squeo, who was on site during the Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Games, told The Associated Press he "will do whatever to not even risk putting in danger anybody here."

Other scheduled test events this week include a marathon swimming competition at Hyde Park on Saturday and a cycling road race that will go through the streets of London on Sunday. The world badminton championships are taking place at the Olympic venue of Wembley Arena in north London.

The unrest started Saturday night in the Tottenham area of north London following the fatal shooting of a local man by police. It spread closer to the Olympic complex Monday when scattered violence broke out in the Hackney area of east London.

Hackney is one of the five boroughs encompassing the Olympic Park, a square-mile site that will be the centerpiece of the Games. Monday's violence took place about 4 miles from the park.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.