News / Europe

Britain Announces New Measures to Restore Order

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street in London, to attend Parliament, August 11, 2011
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street in London, to attend Parliament, August 11, 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced new measures to restore order to Britain's streets and prevent the riots that have gripped the country for much of the past week from erupting again.

Speaking at an emergency session of parliament Thursday, Mr. Cameron told lawmakers authorities are considering ordering youths to remove masks and temporarily disabling social networking websites that rioters have used to coordinate their activity.  He said he would keep a higher police presence of 16,000 police officers in London through the coming days and consider calling in the army to help.

The prime minister said the rioting is not about politics or protest, but the result of a culture that "glorifies violence."  He blamed street gangs for helping to spark the riots and said he would seek advice from U.S. cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and New York that had fought gangs.   

Mr. Cameron said Britain "will not allow a culture of fear to exist on its streets," warning looters that they will be tracked down and prosecuted.  He reiterated that police had already been authorized to use water cannon, batons and plastic bullets if necessary.

Mr. Cameron and lawmakers cut short their summer vacations to deal with the crisis, which saw its first calm night Wednesday after four straight nights of rioting, looting and arson.  Police and witnesses reported just minor incidents as thousands of riot police filled the streets of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Earlier Thursday, police began raiding houses in London in connection with the riots.  Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh said more than 100 arrest warrants will be served in the "coming hours and days."

British courts are struggling to deal with a massive backlog of cases from the unrest.  Police already have arrested more than 1,200 people since the riots began on Saturday.  The violence was originally touched off by the fatal police shooting last week of a 29-year-old man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood.  

Mr. Cameron has faced criticism in connection with his plan to reduce the police budget by 20 percent.  On Wednesday, London Mayor Boris Johnson criticized the proposed cuts, saying the riots do not allow for "substantial cuts" in police numbers.  Mr. Cameron previously said the cuts will not "reduce the amount of visible policing."

Hundreds of youths - many saying they are sick of unemployment and cuts in government help - have burned buildings and cars, looted stores, smashed windows, and attacked police.  Many of the riot victims are small business owners who say they have taken up weapons to protect their property.

Birmingham police opened a murder investigation Wednesday when a car ran over and killed three men, apparently while they tried to protect their neighborhood from looters.  Police have a suspect in custody.  

The only other fatality of the riots was a man who died Wednesday of gunshot wounds in south London in Croydon district.  Hundreds of people have been injured in the unrest, mostly police officers.

The violence has raised questions about security as London prepares to host the 2012 Olympic Games.  A Wednesday match between England and the Netherlands at London's Wembley stadium was canceled.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs