While most mainstream news outlets are blaming the British riots on random thuggery, they are really an outgrowth of bad economic conditions and governments’ poor response to the financial crisis.
As I’ve noted for years, raging inequality and policies which help the big boys at the expense of the “little people” are causing unrest – not just in Egypt – but worldwide.
As CNBC reports today:
Great Britain and other parts of the world are experiencing unrest at a time of global economic uncertainty and stock market volatility.
Police in London say the violence began during a vigil for a man, Mark Duggan, who’d been killed by police. However, those on the streets say what’s happening goes beyond one man’s death.
In late June, half the public schools in Britain where closed by a massive protest over public pensions cuts, including three major teachers’ unions, customs and immigration officers, and air traffic controllers. Some 750,000 people took part in the protest.
London’s press has reported that discontent has been simmering among Britain’s urban poor for years, in neighborhoods like Tottenham, where the riots started.
But as one man told NBC News about an economic protest two months ago, “There was not a word in the press about our protests. Last night (Saturday) a bit of rioting and looting and now look around you.”
Cameron’s conservative government is under fire for spending cuts to social programs in order to help reduce the country’s debt. Among those hit the hardest are large numbers of minority youths who have been at the forefront of the unrest.
And watch this BBC interview:
Approximatley 300,000 people gathered Saturday night in Tel Aviv, 20,000 participated in Jerusalem, 3,000 in Kiryat Shmona, 5,000 in Modi’in,1,000 in Hod Hasharon and 1,000 in Eilat.
In Tel Aviv, people marched from Habima Square, near the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard, to the Kirya defense compund on Kaplan Street.
Protesters in Tel Aviv, Saturday, August 6, 2011. Photo by: Tal Cohen
Protesters chanted “The people demand social justice” and “An entire generation demands a future.”
A number of signs that were hung on Kaplan Street read “Resign, Egypt is here.”
Haaretz also reports:
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Sunday that he believes that the current Knesset may not complete its tenure due to the ongoing social protests in Israel.
Rivlin said that he believes elections will be earlier than the expected date in November of 2013.
CNBC fills in details on the reasons for the protests:
Some 250,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday over the rising cost of living. Demonstrations actually began last month when a few people set up tents in an expensive part of Tel Aviv to protest rising property prices.
The protests have moved to other cities in Israel, where some 50,000 people rallied.
The demonstrations have turned into a major challenge for the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Polls released last week show his approval ratings have dropped while support for the protesters is high.
Here are some of the demands from protestors, according to Reuters:
* Increase personal tax brackets for top earners
* Enshrine the right to housing in the law; introduce rent controls; boost mortgage relief
* Stop further privatization of things such as health facilities
* Provide free education for all from the age of three months
* Raise the minimum wage to 50 percent of the average wage
Spain, Greece and Portugal
CNBC then discusses protests in Spain, Greece and Portugal, noting:
All three … have experienced protests and rioting in reaction to government austerity programs and bad economic conditions.
Philippines, China and Syria
CNBC then turns to 3 other nations:
Thousand of workers took to the streets throughout the country in May of this year to march for higher pay. They demanded better wages in light of rising inflation, including higher oil prices.
They called on the government of President Benigno Aquino III to do more to help protect jobs.
In reaction, the government held job fairs as hundreds of workers have been laid off as the economy slumps. Workers say that effort has fallen far short of what they want.
Nearly 1,000 cab drivers in eastern China blocked traffic and protested on Aug. 1 over rising fuel costs. It was the latest sign of discontent about the country’s surging inflation.
Inflation is hitting China hard, with food prices recently increasing 12 percent. Many Chinese officials are reported concerned that inflation, along with rising property prices, could lead to even more unrest.
This past June, thousands of workers battled for three days with police in the capital city of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. They were protesting declining living standards.
The recent protests can be traced back to February of this year, in what was an attempt to copy the Arab Spring uprising. That’s when calls through Chinese social networks were sent out for an uprising in several local cities.
In another legacy from the Arab Spring, protests and riots in Syria against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad have been going on for five months.
Reports say at least 1,600 people have been killed by government forces.
The demonstrations are a combination of calls for economic as well as political changes. Assad’s government has promised a package of reforms including higher wages, letting political parties exist, easing restrictions on the media, and a new anti-corruption drive. But so far, none of the measures has been set in place.