US mayors, contending with their own fiscal crises and diminishing federal support, have been looking warily across the Atlantic at rioting, looting and violence in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities throughout Britain. Similar riots seem unlikely to occur in the US, says Politico, though some politicians from urban centers said the riots are a reminder of violence in American cities such as Newark, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles in the 1960s.
A vastly larger police force — 16,000 in London alone — and bad weather in the form of heavy rain combined to prevent a fifth night of rioting in London and other cities, says the BBC. More than 1,000 have been arrested and with police cells overflowing, courts have begun to process cases far into the night.
Prime Minister David Cameron says that a “fight back” is underway against the “groups of thugs” involved in the riots. He attributes the violence to “a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals.” As the New York Times observes,
Cameron appeared to signal with his speech — and especially with one dismissive phrase about “phony concerns about human rights” — that the governing Conservative Party, which he leads, while perhaps vulnerable politically because the riots occurred on its watch, is spoiling for battle with those groups in the opposition Labour Party and elsewhere that argue that the riots grew out of social deprivation and despair.
On Thursday, the prime minister is to make a statement about the riots in the House of Commons, where debate is likely to ensue about whether his government’s harsh austerity measures, which have drastically slashed many social programs, played a role in the rioting.
Many have asked if tensions between racial and ethnic communities may have played a role in the riots.
Photo of aftermath of the Croydon riots by motorised
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