08.11.11

Cameron: Rioters Will Pay

In an address to Parliament Thursday, the prime minister admitted police initially failed to handle the riots well. While the cop surge will remain, he's now considering using military troops.

Cameron: Protesters Will Pay

Aug 11 10:00 AM EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised Parliament Thursday to punish Britain’s rioters. "You will pay for what you have done,” he warned the rioters, telling Parliament “We will not let the violent few beat us.” He also admit that the police did not initially handle the riots well. Cameron has been coming under pressure to reverse some austerity measures, but he stood by his decision to slash nearly $4 billion in police spending, promising that Britain would still be able to “surge” the number of cops it has in recent days. Cameron said he would keep 16,000 cops on the ground in London through the weekend and also to consider bringing in military troops in a secondary role. He also pledged compensation to individuals and businesses damaged by rioting; gave police the power to order suspects to remove face masks; and rejected calls for a public inquiry.

Britain Calm as Police Raid Homes

Aug 11, 2011 6:45 AM EDT

After four days of rioting, British cities were calm Wednesday night as police in London began raiding homes. More than 100 warrants were executed, according to the Associated Press, with police officials saying “hundreds more” people would be in custody by the end of the day. (They’ve already arrested 900 in London alone.) Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron will face parliament Thursday and is coming under pressure to reverse some austerity measures, including nearly $4 billion in cuts to police funding. He has so far blamed the rioting on opportunistic criminals, saying: “There are pockets of our society that are not just broken but frankly sick.”

Cameron Gets Tough
By William Underhill

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s gave the public what it wanted today when he spoke of a “fight back” in response to the riots. It was also good politics.

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Thousands of Arrests Strain UK Legal System

Aug 10, 2011 1:10 PM EDT

As riots continue to rage in English urban centers, thousands of arrests are putting a strain on the country's legal system. Courts haven't had a break in dealing the criminal charges from the four nights of chaos. Over 1,100 people have been arrested in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, and Leicester. Prime Minister David Cameron have given police "carte blanche on manpower and tactics," including the use of water canons and plastic bullets. Manchester's chief constable Garry warned rioters who have been looting and burning shops in the area: "Hundreds and hundreds of people, we have your image, we have your face, we have your acts of wanton criminality on film.We are coming for you from today, and no matter how long it takes we will arrest those people responsible."

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The Fires Are Dying Out in London, but the Problems Remain
By Andrew Roberts

The violence in England’s streets is no working-class insurrection but the uprising of the non-working, anti-working, would-do-anything-sooner-than-work class.

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Cameron: Pockets of British Society "Sick"

Aug 10, 2011 8:15 AM EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron is angry, and he's not going to take it anymore. Wednesday, Cameron said that "nothing is off the table." He's authorized the use of rubber bullets, while water cannons are already on standby. Fuming, he said that there were pockets of British society that were "sick," and that the crisis is not only a political problem, but a moral one as well. Cameron also promised to publish images of arrested looters, saying that "human rights" will not get in the way. Read David Cameron's full speech.

Riots Spread to New Cities: 3 Killed in Hit-and-Run

Aug 10, 2011 6:30 AM EDT

London was mostly calm on Tuesday night, but Britain’s problems are only getting worse: Rioting and looting spread to several other cities, including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Nottingham. The riots may have turned deadly too, as three men were killed in Birmingham in a hit-and-run. According to the Telegraph, the men were attempting to defend neighborhood shops and properties from looters; prior to their deaths, they were praying at the local mosque. Police have arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with the deaths and opened a murder investigation. Police also arrested 113 people in Manchester and Salford.

A Quiet Night in London

Aug 10, 2011 12:10 AM EDT

It's been relatively calm in London as the deployment of 16,000 police officers seems to have worked. But the violence has spread to other U.K. cities such as Manchester. Fire bombs were thrown at shops and looting persisted as Manchester police tried to contain the anarchy. There were also disturbances in Birmingham, West Midlands, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

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Gallery: Riots across London and United Kingdom
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Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images

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Quiet Suburb Battles Rioters
by William Underhill Aug 9, 2011 9:11 PM EDT

Residents in prosperous Ealing unite to fight off looters arriving from other parts of the capital and demand zero tolerance as David Cameron doubles the police presence. William Underhill reports.

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Burnt out cars are removed from Ealing Green following a night of rioting on August 9, 2011 in London, England. Sporadic looting, arson and clashes with police continued for a third day in parts of the capital, as well as in Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol. (Jim Dyson / Getty Images)

It was 11 at night when Jonathan Russell was roused from bed by his neighbor. A gang of youths was outside their apartment house in the London suburb of Ealing, using a wooden pole as a battering ram in an attempt to break down the front door. A barricade was urgently needed.

Together they managed to fend off the intruders. “I think we convinced them that there were more of us than there were,” Russell told The Daily Beast. Others were not so lucky. Some of the attackers broke into a neighbor’s apartment through an open window and stole her television and other valuables. Cars parked outside were trashed.

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British Far Right: We Will Stop Riots
Aug 9, 2011 8:20 PM EDT

This does not sound like it’s going to lead anywhere good. The leader of Britain’s far-right group, the English Defense League, said Tuesday night that up to 1,000 of its members plan on taking to the streets in Luton and other areas of unrest to stop the riots themselves. “We’re going to stop the riots—police obviously can’t handle it,” Stephen Lennon told the AP. Lennon said some members were already carrying out patrols to deter rioters, and hundreds more would join them Wednesday night. The English Defense League was recently in the news for inspiring the politics of Anders Behring Beivik, the Norwegian extremist who killed 76 in a rampage. Meanwhile, thousands more police flooded the streets of London Tuesday night to try to quell the violence that seeped into its third night.

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Large Quantites of Items Popping Up For Sale on Craigslist
Aug 9, 2011 8:15 PM EDT

It's unclear whether these items are stolen, but as looting has taken over London, large quantities of unopened merchandise are showing up on Craigslist.

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Stop Politicizing the Riots
By Alex Massie Aug 9, 2011 6:45 PM EDT

The violence racking London is not about Margaret Thatcher, or David Cameron’s budget cuts. Alex Massie on why the kids in the streets have nothing to say.

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A hooded youth walks past a burning vehicle in Hackney on August 8, 2011, in London, England. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

Tuesday night, no fewer than 16,000 police officers, many of them drafted in from forces across the United Kingdom, will patrol the streets of London as Scotland Yard tries to prevent a fourth successive night of the rioting that has convulsed the capital, shocked Britain, and made headlines around the world.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has scampered back from his Italian holiday and Parliament has been recalled to debate the riots, and the issues arising from them, on Thursday. Already, and before the violence has even subsided, the search for reasons and answers has begun. Alas, this thirst for firm conclusions is likely to be disappointed.

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British Police Hobbled by Their Own Prejudice
by Joseph D. McNamara Aug 9, 2011 6:36 PM EDT

Law enforcement in England could borrow from lessons learned by U.S. police during the civil-rights movement, says Joseph McNamara, a former police chief.

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Police officers in riot gear in Hackney on August 8, 2011. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

The current violent riots in England remind me of my experiences in American policing, as well as those with the English police. As a police veteran of many riots, I applaud the strong condemnation in England by police and political leaders of those criminals destroying the neighborhoods of the very people they claim to represent. To be effective, however, the condemnation of thugs and violence must come from the minority community itself. But denunciation of criminal violence will not come until neighborhood leaders are convinced that political and police leaders are committed to equal treatment.

In the late 1980s, I was forced to take extended medical leave from my job as police chief of San Jose, California. I was bored out of my mind and jumped to take the opportunity to serve without pay as a visiting professor at Bramshill Police College, located 30 miles southwest of London. Every officer hoping to rise in rank from within England’s 56 county police forces was obliged to successfully complete courses at Bramshill. During my long career in American policing, the British bobby had been frequently held up as the model of professionalism and the example for policing free from prejudice, so I greatly looked forward to the opportunity to observe and learn.

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A Clockwork Orange
by Rosemary Righter Aug 9, 2011 3:35 PM EDT

As the riots in London continue unabated, Rosemary Righter argues that the root cause is a lack of parenting, and teenagers who are not held accountable when they should be.

At the height of this spring’s Egyptian popular uprising, as we all marveled not just at the courage but the self-discipline of crowds mustered in their millions in the cause of individual rights and dignity, in London a rioting student from a pampered background casually chucked a fire extinguisher from a roof into the crowded streets below. Britain was demeaned by that comparison. Similarly, it is demeaned today by the contrast between the citizens’ revolts against dictatorship in Libya and Syria and the opportunistic trashing of great tracts of London’s streets by lawless gangs of youths bent, as two teenage girls boastfully put it, on “showing the police, and showing the rich, that we can do whatever we want.” Their “rich” victims have been mostly small neighborhood shops—wantonly set ablaze as often as looted—and families living in gutted small apartments above those shops.

To describe last Thursday’s fatal shooting by police of a young black man, Mark Duggan, as a “trigger,” let alone a cause, of this mayhem is far wide of the mark. The friends and relatives who descended on the police station in Tottenham, north London, to demand answers were angry but nonviolent, and although Tottenham has a high proportion of unemployed black youth, it is no longer the police no-go area it was in 1985, when a machete and knife-wielding mob hacked Police Constable Keith Blakelock to death.

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Riots Spread to Other Cities
August 9, 2011 6:41 PM EDT

Night has descended in Britain where London police are preparing for a fourth night of riots, which have recently spread outside of the the British capital to Manchester. Eyewitnesses in the city claimed some 2,000 rioters were looting shops and damaging property as police tried to contain the anarchy. There are also disturbances in Birmingham and other parts of West Midlands. Scotland Yard has authorized the use of plastic bullets after Prime Minister David Cameron ordered 16,000 police officers to crack down on chaos and violence in the capital on Tuesday night. So far, officers have made 563 arrests. Meanwhile, baseball bats and other riot gear are currently listed on Amazon U.K.'s best-seller list.

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No Evidence Man Shot at London Cops
August 9, 2011 1:45 PM EDT

A new report by an independent police body may further enrage London rioters. Investigators say there is “no evidence” Mark Duggan fired at police officers. Duggan was shot and killed by police Thursday, sparking the riots. Prime Minister David Cameron says 16,000 police would be on the streets of London on Tuesday night to stop “criminality, pure and simple.” Police say 563 people have been arrested in London since the riots began.

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Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images

London burned for the third night in a row Monday, as rioters and looters continued to roam the city. A 26-year-old man was the first fatality of the riots, found shot in his car. The 6,000 police officers working Monday night and Tuesday morning used armored vehicles called Jankels to push back a crowd of 150 looters in Lavendar Hill. Elsewhere in London, residents jumped from burning buildings, while kitchen workers at the Michelin-starred Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill fought off looters with rolling pins and fry baskets. British Home Secretary Theresa May has ruled out using water cannons. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged 16,000 police officers by Tuesday night to fight "criminality"; so far, 400 people have been arrested.

London Burns as Riots Spread
by William Underhill Aug 8, 2011 8:54 PM EDT

Prime Minister David Cameron rushes home as rioting escalates and violence spreads beyond the capital. The mayhem is mostly thuggery, but may reflect unresolved grievances against authority, says William Underhill.

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Riot police walk along Clarence Road in Hackney on August 8, 2011 in London, England. (Dan Istitene / Getty Images)

Prime Minister David Cameron breaks off a holiday abroad to return home. So, too, does the mayor of London and the leader of the Labour opposition. The home secretary issues a call for community leaders to cooperate with the police, and the city’s police chief urges parents to check the whereabouts of their children. More than 200 people are arrested.

Something strange and disturbing is happening on the streets of London. For three successive nights rioters have brought mayhem to patches of the capital on a scale not seen for at least 25 years. Burnt-out cars and stores testify to a mood in the capital that’s turned ugly for reasons that commentators struggle to identify.

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