England riots: International reaction

Burnt-out car in Salford near Manchester - 9 August 2011

Thousands of extra police are on duty in English cities in an attempt to prevent further nights of the rioting that has already seen mobs battling police and shops looted and torched.

Hundreds of people involved in the disorder are appearing at special court sittings in London, Manchester and the West Midlands.

BBC News website readers from around the world have been sharing their thoughts on the England riots.


I think it's a sad state of affairs where adults either don't know or don't care what their kids are doing or what they are up to. Jude Bradley, Dublin, Ireland

What we need really is to help each other. We need to help those who are involved in crimes and rioting. They are too young to be in prison. What I see them doing is like a nine-year-old child who doesn't get what he wants, then starts to scream and cry and yell to the parents, and maybe even throw some toys. Jami, Helsinki, Finland

US and Canada

I think that the British police and government have acted with great restraint with these looters. These looters should try the same thing in the US. Here shopkeepers during riots are armed and post signs stating "looters will be shot". If water cannons and plastic bullets are used against demonstrators in Northern Ireland then why do they hesitate using them in England? Fran Powell, Baltimore, US

Image caption Melanie Hallbeck in New Mexico says the events in England remind her of the Los Angeles riots of 1992 pictured here

As an American, I am reminded of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. However, it seems that the rioters in LA had a deeper reason for the instigation of their violence - racism - and that it burned much faster and hotter, coming to a quick end. This rioting seems to have its origins in just a general discontent over the economic malaise currently plaguing most countries. It also smacks of the underclasses getting their revenge on the wealthier people in the country. I am surprised that a stronger response by the police hasn't occurred, as it would have here in the states. Melanie Hallbeck, New Mexico, US

My wife and I were born in east London and a north east suburb of London respectively. We grew up in wartime and post-war London. Our families had a home and enough to eat, but there was never a thought of spare money or luxuries. Everyone worked hard for what they got. Family life was strong as was the code of conduct expected of everyone in the community. We emigrated to Canada in our early 20s.

The riots have shocked and disgusted us. We have been proud of our British heritage but disassociate ourselves from current British society. We feel it was a huge mistake to allow mass immigration to such a small, overcrowded country. It has changed society and the racial diversity has just compounded the problems. Cultures don't mix and probably never will.

We had hoped the government might act more forcefully to put down these mobs. The police are overwhelmed and the army should have been brought in.

Why did it take four days for the PM and mayor to show up? What a total lack of effective leadership. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed in London during the blitz. Cameron was more concerned with a few more days in the sun in Italy! Brian, Vancouver, Canada

Latin America

As an expatriate Briton who has to watch and listen to all the news unfolding through the media and social networking sites, I find it hard to contain my anger regarding the nanny state the UK has become. A soft touch with easy access to welfare, a home to ungrateful, hateful and disaffected youths, then add to the mix home-grown impressionable simpletons. This is one of the many unfortunate outcomes of giving too much too easily and then trying to cut back. Where are the parents of these people to teach true values and responsibilities? Stephen Gray, Lima, Peru

Middle East

Problems will arise in all societies. But look at the British, they are allowing the press to fully cover and report what is happening there. That isn't what happens in Iran, China or Syria. Long live the truly democratic country. Mansooor Hasan, Dubai, UAE

Having lived in Manchester for 22 years, it was very clear to me that there was a lazy, bored and malevolent class of society simply supported by the state, happily living a lifestyle of petty crime and occasional violence. This issue was under the national radar for too long. Maybe now it has exploded, appropriate action will be taken. No more soft touch for the chronically lazy drain on society. They may lay the blame at the feet of the rich, but it's the money of productive people that reaches their back pockets. Avi Haffner, Jerusalem, Israel


I used to live in Nottingham and I cannot believe that rioting is happening in the place where I used to live. When I was living in Nottingham I had the impression that the UK was a very peaceful country. I simply cannot believe what I have seen in the papers today about what is happening in the UK. HX Yong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Let us not condemn British society or the police unnecessarily. This sort of mindless violence and looting has occurred time and again across different cities around the world. Yes, there may be discontent on certain issues, but what has happened in the UK over the past four days is nothing but mob mentality and hot-blooded youths taking advantage of the situation. The TV footage clearly shows that most of the protesters, rioters and looters are youngsters, not even middle-aged folks. The government and cops have to send out a very clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated and they will pursue and prosecute these vandals no matter how much time or effort it takes. Donald Uttanwalla, Mumbai, India


The community and the police have been sitting on a tinderbox for years and the most recent spark has set the whole thing alight. The background to this isn't just one shooting, I think this is down to years of heavy-handed and racist policing coupled with decades of economic neglect and a plethora of politicians from all parties cocking a deaf ear to the problems of real people everywhere. Buhari, Banjul, The Gambia

There comes a time when you have to take off the gloves and this is such a time. I think what I find most surprising is the way the looters are being treated. They have received taps on the wrists thus far for all they have done and unfortunately, until they are shown that real consequences exist for their madness, the riots will continue to spread and the number of deaths will rise. I do not believe that this has anything to do with the economy. It's all about a misguided set of youths with the wrong set of values. The authorities need to come down on them as hard as it takes to get it into their heads, and that's just not happening right now. Abiodun Gaffar, Lagos, Nigeria

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