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Banker Describes Rioting In London

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After three successive nights of rioting, looting and arson, the British government is cracking down.

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke with a friend who works in London about the tense situation.

In a push to restore order, Prime Minister David Cameron has marshaled 10,000 additional police officers in the strongest attempt yet to quell the violence and restore order.

London banker Martin Stokes said the city is tense.

“I do think that tonight is crucial and I’m sure the authorities are fully aware of that,” he told KDKA-TV. “And if it goes off tonight, then God knows what tomorrow will bring — probably some kind of army response which would not be good.”

The stepped up efforts come as the unrest threatens to spiral out of control. Police have already arrested 600 people in London and have filled every available jail cell, but there are reports that violence is spreading to other cities.

The rioting began after the police shot a 29-year-old father of four in the lower-class Tottenham section of London and comes at a time when the British government has been cutting programs for the poor.

Whether the uprising is motivated by cuts in social services or just kids exploiting an opportunity to loot and steal is a matter of debate, but Stokes says in the areas where the rioting is concentrated, there is a sense of stagnation.

“People in these areas do not have a great deal of hope within their current society,” Stokes said. “There isn’t much aspiration.”

In other sections of the city, Stokes says the streets have been unusually quiet at night. People have stayed in watching the news, hoping the violence will come to an end.

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