Rioting flared for a few hours again in the Brixton area of South London late tonight, ending a day's respite from the violence that has plagued British cities for the last two weeks.

Several hundred youths, most of them black, battled police with bricks and molotov cocktails following a day of building tension begun by a police raid on suspected off-hours drinking spots. About 2 a.m., 100 policemen searching for firearms had battered down doors and smashed furniture at several locations, without finding any weapons, after sealing off several blocks of the area where serious rioting had started both last week and in mid-April.

A crowd gathered during the day as angry black residents of the buildings showed reporters and several members of Parliament from London the extensive damage that had been done by the police raiders. Television sets had been shattered, possessions scattered around rooms, clothing ripped and a mattress thrown out a window.

To try to reduce the tension, top police officials promised at a meeting called by community leaders to pay for the damage. But the limited violence followed after dark.

The Thatcher government announced that it would investigate the incident, and a high court judge, Lord Scarman, who is conducting a wide-ranging government inquiry into the riots in Brixton and other inner-city areas, twice visited the scene to express his concern.