|LONDON (AFP) – Police were out in force in London on
Saturday in a bid to prevent any repeat of England’s worst
riots in decades, which left city neighbourhoods smouldering
and five people dead.
The number of officers was more than doubled to 16,000
earlier this week, and Home Secretary Theresa May said the
extra police numbers would stay on the beat until further
notice amid concerns violence could flare up this weekend.
England has had three quieter days following four nights of
rioting, arson and looting which led to 1,600 arrests across
the country, but politicians and police were taking no
chances, even as they clashed on each other’s response to
“We will be sustaining the numbers for a period of time,”
“We have had some quieter nights but we are not complacent
The orgy of violence started in London but the trouble soon
spread to other major cities, including Birmingham,
Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham.
London’s Metropolitan Police said they arrested 1,144
people, of whom 693 have been charged.
In total across England, 796 people have appeared in court,
of whom 122 were under 18. Courts have been working through
the night and two-thirds of those charged have been remanded
Calls for those convicted to be stripped of their state
welfare handouts and booted out of publicly-owned housing
were receiving growing popular support.
Wandsworth Council local authority in south London became
the first to serve an eviction notice, on a tenant whose son
has been charged. It will come into effect if he is
“For too long we’ve taken a too soft attitude towards people
that loot and pillage their own community,” Prime Minister
David Cameron told BBC television.
“If you do that you should lose your right to the sort of
housing that you’ve had at subsidised rates.”
A week on from the initial flare-up of urban violence,
debate is raging about how Britain has sunk to such
As fears of renewed violence remained high, a row escalated
between police and politicians as both sides sought to
deflect blame for the crisis.
The police have been criticised for their reluctance to
crack down hard on the first riot in the north London
district of Tottenham last Saturday. Critics say the
cautious approach encouraged unrest to spread across the
capital and then to other English cities.
But senior officers hit back in rare public attacks on
political leaders, who last year introduced funding cuts to
police forces across Britain as part of a wider package of
|Egyptians rally for
Hundreds clash with riot
police in Cairo as they try to resurrect rallies aimed at
pushing along promised reforms
|(Al Jazeera) – Several hundred protesters have clashed
with riot police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, defying Egypt’s
military rulers who are eager to prevent any demonstrations
there since forcefully clearing a weeks-long sit-in by youth
activists last week.
The demonstrators called for a “civil state” after a visit
by Egypt’s ruling general, field marshal Hussein Tantawi.
“Civil, civil” and “down with military rule” they chanted
late on Friday.
Brief clashes erupted as demonstrators pelted police with
stones and water bottles prompting a response in kind.
But calm quickly returned as another group of demonstrators
intervened chanting “peaceful, peaceful. The army and the
people are a single hand.”
The protest unfolded after the iftar meal that breaks the
daytime fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
The demonstration in favour of a civil state came as a
counter to a July 30 rally that drew hundreds of thousands
of Islamists to Tahrir in a show of support for what they
called “Egypt’s Islamic identity”.
Dozens of groups had called for rallies marking a “Friday of
love for Egypt” but they decided to postpone the gathering
to “be better prepared”, local press reported, although some
of them decided to observe iftar.
Tantawi earlier in the day inspected military police
deployed in Tahrir square, epicentre of the January-February
revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s army is eager to prevent rallies in Tahrir Square
because activists have used the protests to pressure the
|Pakistan shooting soldier to die
(BBC) – A Pakistani paramilitary soldier has been sentenced
to death for killing an unarmed man in an incident caught on
videotape and broadcast on TV.
Sarfaraz Shah, 18, was shot at point-blank range in Karachi
The anti-terrorism court in Karachi found Shahid Zafar
guilty of the killing and sentenced six other men to life
The killing sparked public anger and increased complaints of
brutality by the security forces.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso also fined Shahid Zafar 200,000
The judge ordered each of the other defendants - five
paramilitaries and a civilian – to pay 100,000 rupees in
compensation to Sarfaraz Shah’s family.
The Sindh branch of the Pakistan Rangers paramilitary force
had argued that he was caught trying to rob someone, a
charge his family denied.
Prosecutor Muhammad Khan Buriro said: “We have found
justice. The court has given the right decision.”
A lawyer for the defendants said there would be an appeal.
Death sentences are rarely carried out in Pakistan.
Sarfaraz Shah’s brother, Salik, said: “We are satisfied with
the punishment and we hope that the higher courts will also
keep them and overturn the appeals of the accused.”
The disturbing video shows a young man in a black T-shirt
being dragged by his hair in a public park by a man in plain
He is pushed towards a group of Sindh Rangers, who are in
uniform and armed. The young man pleads for his life as one
of the Rangers points a gun at his neck.
A little later, a Ranger shoots him twice at close range,
hitting him in the thigh. The young man is seen writhing on
the ground, bleeding heavily and begging for help.
The paramilitaries remain close to the injured man but do
nothing to help him. Sarfaraz Shah died from his injuries.
The public outcry led to the removal of the Sindh police
chief and the director-general of the Sindh branch of the
The Rangers are a paramilitary force under the interior
There are about 10,000 Rangers in Karachi but rights groups
say they are not sufficiently trained to deal with keeping
|US urges states to cut Syria ties
(BBC) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged all
countries to cut their political and economic ties with
She said buying oil and gas from Syria and exporting arms
there were giving President Bashar al-Assad “comfort in his
Mrs Clinton’s comments came as large anti-government
protests continued despite a harsh army crackdown.
Activists said at least 16 people died on Friday as
protesters came under fire in towns and cities across the
More than 1,700 people have died and tens of thousands have
reportedly been arrested since the uprising against the
41-year rule of Assad’s family began in March.
Correspondents say there is little the US can do to directly
pressure the Syrian regime, with which it has few ties or
So Washington has been stepping up the pressure on Europe,
Russia and China, to use the leverage that they do have, and
on Friday Mrs Clinton extended the pressure to all those
with ties to Damascus.
“We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas,
those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries
whose political and economic support give him comfort in his
brutality, to get on the right side of history,” she said.
Washington has stopped short of calling for Assad to stand
down, instead seeking unity in the international community
so Assad cannot say it is only the US or the West that is
But Mrs Clinton reiterated the view that he has “lost the
legitimacy to lead and it is clear that Syria would be
better off without him”.
The US has imposed sanctions against Damascus and has said
these could be increased, while calling on other countries
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait have all recalled their
ambassadors from Damascus while Turkish Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu has described the methods used by the Syrian
security forces as “unacceptable.”
|Brazil’s gang-fighting judge gunned
(BBC) – A Brazilian judge renowned for her
work against organised crime has been shot dead in Rio de
Patricia Acioli was gunned down outside her home in the city
of Niteroi late on Thursday by masked men travelling on two
motorbikes, officials said.
She was best known for convicting members of vigilante gangs
and corrupt police officers.
The judge’s family said she had received several death
threats, but had not had a police escort.
Witnesses told AFP the gunmen intercepted the
mother-of-three’s car as she was arriving at home in Niteroi,
just across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro.
They had fired at least 16 shots, killing the 47-year-old
instantly, reports said. Her funeral service was held on
Friday in Niteroi.
Brazil’s Supreme Court condemned the killing as an attack on
democracy and the rule of law.
“Cowardly crimes against magistrates are an attack on the
independence of the judiciary, the state and Brazilian
democracy,” Supreme Court President Cezar Peluso said in a
“The preservation of the rule of law in our country demands
a rapid investigation of the facts and a rigorous punishment
of those responsible for this barbarous act.”
Rio has stepped up its campaign against violent crime ahead
of hosting football’s World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic
Games in 2016, correspondents say.