London In Flames As Riots Continue

We’re talking about the riots in London and beyond in the U.K. Why they’ve happened, what they’ve meant, what we’re seeing.

Firemen work in the area of Clapham in the aftermath left by riots in London. Several nights of rioting left trails of looted stores, wrecked cars and burned buildings across London and several other cities. (AP)

Firemen work in the area of Clapham in the aftermath left by riots in London. Several nights of rioting left trails of looted stores, wrecked cars and burned buildings across London and several other cities. (AP)

Four days and nights of riots in Britain have blasted stunning images out to the world.

Cities on fire. Whole London blocks ablaze. Looting and rampage that British police seemed powerless to stop.

Last night, quieter in London, but hot unrest in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham. It’s been the worst British rioting in a generation. And along with it, a hot debate: is this the angry rise of the underclass, battered by government austerity measures, joblessness, hopelessness?

Or is this simple criminality, as the British prime minister declares?

This hour On Point: the message in the London riots.

-Tom Ashbrook

Towards the end of the hour, we’ll talk with New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse about the Verizon strike.


John Burns, London bureau chief for the New York Times.

Bim Adewunmi, freelance journalist.

Laurie Penny, blogger at Penny Red

Map of U.K. Riots
View Map of U.K. Riots in a larger map

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: “The strife also moved beyond London: In Birmingham, the U.K.’s second-largest city, police said they made a number of arrests after several shops in the city center were attacked, with some windows smashed and property stolen. In the northern city of Liverpool there were several criminal incidents, including some cars being set alight, a police woman said. Reports said the chaos spread to the western city of Bristol.”

The New York Times: “Prime Minister David Cameron pledged on Tuesday to flood the streets of London with 10,000 extra police officers and said Parliament would be recalled in emergency session after rioting and looting spread across and beyond London for a third night in what the police called the worst unrest in memory. ”

The Guardian: “The maker of the BlackBerry, Research in Motion, said on Monday night that it would co-operate with a police investigation into claims that its popular BlackBerry Messenger service played a key role in organising the London riots.”

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