A looted store
The British government has pledged 20 million pounds in relief funds for stores affected by the riots and looting in the United Kingdom. Photo Credit: hughepaul/Flickr/CC-BY

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has pledged a relief fund of 20 million pounds for shops damaged in the London riots. The cost of the ongoing disturbances could have already topped 100 million pounds, almost $300 million U.S.

Social networks could be temporarily shut down by authorities

The government of the United Kingdom is contemplating interrupting social media and other communication networks in order to impede rioters in London and other cities that are ransacking shops and damaging property, according to Reuters. Over the weekend, looters and rioters coordinated efforts using Blackberry Messenger and Twitter. Other countries, such as Egypt and China, have disrupted access to such networks to quash turmoil, but unlike Egyptians trying to overthrow an entrenched dictator, rioters in London are smashing storefront windows to grab televisions and designer clothing. Street gangs, according to CNN, are behind most instances of looting or violence, mostly men younger than 30. Activity has been tapering off in London and other cities where looting had broken out, but a further 16,000 police are set to patrol London streets over the weekend.

Relief fund for store owners

Prime Minister Cameron has said a relief fund of 20 million pounds will be made available for shop owners whose businesses were damaged by looters, according to The Guardian. Businesses that aren’t insured will be able to apply for relief under the Riot Damages Act, a portion of the laws referred to as the Riot Act. The British Retail Consortium hailed the decision, stating that it would help shattered businesses get back on their feet. Insurance companies are expected to pay out 200 million pounds or more for damages. One of the most commonly targeted stores was J.D. Sports, a large sporting goods and clothing chain. The company stated that 30 of its stores had been pillaged by rioters and estimated stock losses for the company could reach as high as 10 million pounds.

Courts clogged

As of today, police have arrested 805 people in conjunction with rioting and looting, according to The Telegraph, with many more to come. According to the Daily Mail, courts in London, Manchester and the West Midlands have been in session for 24 hours a day handling cases related to looting. Children as young as 11 have been arrested for taking part in the carnage. Other cities such as Birmingham and Wolverhampton have also taken on 24-hour court dockets, according to the Guardian. Some defendants will receive sentences of only a few months, but the more egregious instances of property damage and assault will result in longer sentences.

Sources

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/11/us-britain-riot-networks-idUSTRE77A20C20110811

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/08/11/uk.riots/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/riots-shops-relief-fund

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8694494/UK-riots-David-Cameron-condemns-sick-society-as-grammar-school-girl-in-court-over-riots.html

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/fast-track-justice-courts-riots

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024767/Man-charged-riot-incitement-Facebook-looters-guilty.html


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