International press reaction to UK riots
Media around the world reacts to the ongoing riots in the UK.
El Pais, Spain
The economic crisis cannot become the sole explanation for the violent outbreaks that are multiplying in Europe. Each case is different, but taken together they are bolstering the view that representative democracy is incapable of dealing peacefully with the growing unrest among citizens. It is a slippery slope that governments have to deal with, while scrupulously obeying the rule of law.
The Express Tribune, Pakistan
The challenge for the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition government in Britain is to get the country back on track financially without dismantling the welfare state. That is, of course, easier said than done, and is further compounded by the Tories' dislike of big government. Unemployment is steadily rising and creating new jobs requires investment by the government, not a cutback in the budget. Further job losses will only lead to further strikes and violence. All it takes is one isolated event to bring all these frustrations to the fore. And soon the government may find that the situation is spiralling out of control and there is nothing it can do to pacify its angry citizens.
These causes strangely resemble those of the riots of 2005 in France or of 2008 in Athens when a teenager was killed by police in the rebellious district of Exarchia.
Die Welt, Germany
London is ablaze and struggling against the violence which has spilled over. Prime Minister David Cameron broke off his holiday and convened the national security council to address the situation. Overnight into Tuesday, the wave of clashes in the British capital reached its peak so far with an inferno of flames in multiple parts of the city.
The violence is especially concentrated, for now, in the poorest parts of London with a multi-ethnic population - some of the areas just a few kilometres from the Olympic Park, where in less than a year, there will be millions of visitors.
New York Times, US
Coming after a cascade of crises, the measures announced by Mr Cameron seemed to represent a bid to restore some appearance of official authority after nights of chaos and near-anarchy with rioters taunting or outmanoeuvring the police, raiding stores and torching buildings. The violence has left many Londoners stunned at the spectacle of hooded and masked marauders rampaging with seeming impunity despite hundreds of arrests that have filled police cells to overflowing. In a cautious response on the streets, some citizens took to cleaning up the debris on Tuesday, cheering police patrol vehicles passing by.
Just before [CNN correspondent Dan] Rivers suggested to viewers of CNN that the rioters in London seemed to be more interested in looting than protesting, Zeinobia [Egyptian blogger and activist who took part in the protests that forced ex-Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from power] made a similar observation from a much greater distance, writing: "I am sorry but you do not loot to object the murder of a young man, you are using his murder."
Isna students news agency (in English), Iran
Iran called for London police to exercise self-restraint in dealing with protesters in Tottenham, north of London. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast referred to Saturday night's massive protests in Tottenham, which came following [the killing] of a young black man by Scotland Yard police and called for the UK government to avoid any police's harsh treatment with protesters. He stressed return of peace and calm to London through talks and examining demands of the demonstrators. Mehmanparast expressed hope independent human rights bodies would take measures to make clear facts behind murder of the black man soon.
Washington Post, US
Some, including former London mayor Ken Livingstone, suggested that the Tottenham riot was an unleashing of pent-up resentment over the weak economy, high unemployment rates and historically deep budget cuts that are decreasing government funding for poor communities and grass-roots charities. He blamed a sense that young Britons are facing "the bleakest future."
Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia
Riots that began in London on the night of Sunday 7 August are spreading across the British capital... "There is real agitation in London's outskirts where ethnic youth groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan live," says director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergey Markov. "They lack any structure; this is just a boiling cauldron. If we compare the unrest in London with riots on Moscow's Manezhnaya Ploshchad square [in December 2010], the situation here is different, though visually they are alike. These ethnic groups in London... are shouting out that the police treat them in an extremely tough way. In Russia, the ethnic majority came out on the streets to protest against the police's inaction. In the UK, the police need a consolidated political will despite its strength. The authorities should say that 'if you want to live in England, you should work and become Englishmen or go away'. Years will pass before the UK authorities venture to take tough measures in the immigration policy. But these measures will nevertheless not resemble methods used by [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi. So, London suburbs will keep burning."
Renmin Ribao, China
"The Olympics will be hosted next year; the security situation in London, which has always been a first-choice site for terrorist attacks, will be even grimmer. British police now face two main problems. First, as the government cuts police funding in order to reduce the deficit, British police will carry out massive layoffs. With insufficient manpower and financial resources, they will inevitably be overwhelmed with problems in maintaining social order. Second, after the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, the credibility of the British police has declined and there is still a very long way to go in rebuilding the credibility of the police and restoring public support, says Qu Bing, Institute of European Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations."
Los Angeles Times, US
Some community leaders say the violence appears to also be a reaction to frustration over high unemployment and cutbacks in government services in mixed-race, low-income neighbourhoods. Others called it merely an opportunistic crime spree by youths who figured out that by organizing through social media, they could outwit the outnumbered police.
Le Monde, France
The clashes come at the worst time for the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government led by Mr Cameron, which is displaying its weaknesses on one of its major themes, law and order. The spreading of the troubles to more affluent areas where council estates and the small houses of the professional classes coexist can only radicalise the Conservative and Liberal Democrat electorates. Beyond the unanimous condemnations of the political world, Mr Cameron is expected to follow a hard line over the criminal acts.