LONDON (AP) — A wave of violence and looting raged across London and spread to three other major British cities on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to contain the country's worst unrest since race riots set the capital ablaze in the 1980s.
In London, groups of young people rampaged for a third straight night, setting buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps alight, looting stores and pelting police officers with bottles and fireworks. The spreading disorder was an unwelcome warning of the possibility of violence for leaders organizing the 2012 Summer Olympics in less than a year.
Police called in hundreds of reinforcements — and made a rare decision to deploy armored vehicles in some of the worst-hit districts — but still struggled to keep pace with the chaos unfolding at flashpoints across London, in the central city of Birmingham, the western city of Bristol and the northwestern city of Liverpool.
Authorities acknowledged that major new bouts of violence had badly stretching their resources.
"The violence we have seen is simply inexcusable. Ordinary people have had their lives turned upside down by this mindless thuggery," police commander Christine Jones said.
The riots appeared to have little unifying cause — though some involved claimed to oppose sharp government spending cuts, which will slash welfare payments and cut tens of thousands of public sector jobs through 2015.
Others appeared attracted simply by the opportunity for violence. "Come join the fun," shouted one youth, racing along a street in the east London suburb of Hackney, where shops were attacked and cars torched.
The crisis will be a major test of Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, which includes members who had long suspected its program of harsh budget restraints could provoke popular dissent. He reversed an earlier decision and cut short his summer vacation in Italy, rushing home for a meeting of the national crisis committee on Tuesday morning. end quote.
This is partly a reaction to slashing welfare and medical and military and public sector jobs across the board in Britain in order to get the nation's financial house in order. This might come to the U.S. to when Social Security is cut in half as well as public sector jobs and military spending. Though it might be necessary to not have a complete economic collapse during these austere times keeping people from rioting as they lose their money and food to live by half could look like this in the U.S. within a few years time. All western nations that bite the bullet to live within their means might have similar experiences to this over the next 5 to 10 years time. Those that don't bite the bullet will see much worse than this.