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Questions for Britain After the Riots


An anti-cuts protesters march through central London. An estimated 250,000 people from across the country converged on the British capital in a largely peaceful demonstration against government spending cuts. London, UK, 26 March 2011. Author: Rufus Cox.

An anti-cuts protesters march through central London. An estimated 250,000 people from across the country converged on the British capital in a largely peaceful demonstration against government spending cuts. London, UK, 26 March 2011. Author: Rufus Cox.

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During the first week of August, Britain had its worst riots since the 1980s. The problems began in London and spread to other cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool.

Police are studying images from security cameras. They have arrested hundreds of people for disorder, violence, and looting.

Police said a 68-year-old man became the fifth person to die as a result of the violence. He was attacked during the riots.

On August 4, there was a deadly police shooting of a 29-year-old man in a poor neighborhood in London. Soon after this shooting, the riots began.

Rioters burned buildings and cars, broke into hundreds of stores, and fought with police.

Prime Minister David Cameron wants advice from American cities that have fought gang violence. These cities include Boston, Los Angeles, and New York.

Mr. Cameron spoke to his government on August 11th at an emergency meeting. He said the violence was not political. He said it was criminal.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron

DAVID CAMERON: "Mr. Speaker, we will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets, and we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order and to rebuild our communities."

In Birmingham, three Pakistani men were killed on August 10. They were trying to protect businesses in their community. Hours after the killing, Tariq Jahan, the father of 21-year-old victim Haroon Jahan, wanted people to be calm.

TARIQ JAHAN: "Basically, I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites -- we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? What started these riots, and what’s escalated? Why are we doing this?"

Many people blamed the riots on high unemployment, slow economic recovery, and cuts to public services by the new British government. Mr. Cameron blamed it on selfishness, lack of responsibility, poor discipline in schools, and bad parenting.

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