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Baltimore Violence Draws International Coverage

A firefighter uses a saw to open a metal gate while fighting a fire in a convenience store and residence during clashes after the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, April 28, 2015.

The unrest in the U.S. city of Baltimore has made international headlines.

Yesterday’s violence was sparked by the funeral of Freddie Gray, 25, who died April 19. His death came one week after being arrested, during which he suffered a broken neck and fell into a coma.

Six Baltimore police officers have been suspended as the death is being investigated.

Gray’s death, demonstrators say, is another case of a U.S. police department resorting to lethal force against young African American men.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper gave the story wide coverage. In a column by Simon Jenkins, the paper lamented that “police in the U.S. and U.K. have become over-armed security agencies forming a lobby powerful enough to scare politicians into giving them whatever they want.”

The BBC also covered the violence, but pointed out some of the differences between the events in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, where large-scale unrest broke out over racial tensions between the police and residents last year over the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

“It was clear, however, that police in Baltimore had been instructed to allow protesters to vent their anger,” the BBC wrote. “Last year in Ferguson, police were accused of aggravating protests through their heavy-handedness and over militarization.”

The BBC also pointed out that unlike Ferguson, which was confined to a relatively small area, the Baltimore unrest “occupied the heart of the city, bringing it to a standstill for several hours.”

Not known for its subtlety, the British Daily Mail had a screaming headline about Baltimore, which read “Anarchy USA."

Spain’s left leaning El Pais newspaper also gave the story prominent coverage, including an analysis that invoked the popular television series The Wire, which portrayed Baltimore as a tinderbox of drugs, poverty, strained race relations, corruption and crime.

The show’s creator, David Simon, wrote on his blog that while there was a lot to be “argued, debated and addressed … violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease.”

He wrote, “If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please.”

Russian state media, Russia Today, focused on the destruction of property in Baltimore, but by Tuesday afternoon, the story had been eclipsed by other news. The story was not on the front page of the English-language version of Pravda.

India’s Times of India newspaper focused on a viral video that emerged from the riots, which reportedly showed a mother berating her son for participating in the riots.

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