Well this is all over the blogosphere. Duss has it, Keating has it, and Scoblete has it. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on the British police to show restraint in dealing with the rioters in England and suggests the state enter a reconciliation dialogue. Best part? Not a joke. I think. Ok maybe it was a joke. (Was it?):
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Britain on Wednesday to curb its “savage” treatment of rioters and the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi said Prime Minister David Cameron had lost legitimacy and should go.
Television pictures of riot police battling to quell unprecedented unrest in cities across Britain have led news schedules in countries that London accuses of human rights abuses, giving their leaders the chance to hit back.
“What kind of country treats its own people like this? The ugliest treatment is the police’s unacceptable attack on the people, who have no weapons in hand,” Ahmadinejad told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
Except apparently the protesters do have weapons: sales of wooden baseball bats increased by 3,263% in one day. (Though admittedly baseball is huge in England. Wait what?) It also seems as though not many British people share Ahmadinejad’s desire for a peaceful national dialogue:
Asked if the police should be able to use various tactics in response to riots provoked some pretty gung ho responses – 90% of people thought they should be able to use water cannon, 84% mounted police, 82% curfews, 78% tear gas, 72% tasers, 65% plastic bullets, 33% live ammunition, 77% thought that the army should be brought in.
Lost in the mocking of Iran’s calls for dialogue, though, is the equally impressive stance by the Libyan government:
In Libya, where Britain is involved in a military campaign against Gaddafi after his forces turned on an anti-government movement earlier this year, a government spokesman said Cameron should step down.
“Cameron has lost his legitimacy and must go… after the massive popular protests that reject him and his government, especially after the violent police repression unleashed by his government against peaceful protesters… to force the British people to accept a government it rejects,” Khalid Ka’im, a foreign ministry spokesman, told the official Jana new agency.
“The international community (should) not stand with arms folded in the face of this gross aggression against the rights of the British people, who are demanding their right to rule their country,” he was quoted as saying.
Perhaps Libya will go ahead and recognize a divided and disorganized rioter group as the true legitimate government of England. (On a side note, does anyone remember Qaddafi comparing himself to Queen Elizabeth? That needs to be brought up here somehow, but I’m too tired to be clever about it. Anyway, the picture should be enough.)
Presumably, the distaste for the riots among many British (and the consequent desire to use live ammo on rioters*) has to do with the opportunists that are taking advantage of the riots. Obviously, the motivations and tactics of the rioters in London are vastly different from, say, the revolutionaries in Egypt who caused the downfall of a repressive dictatorship by nonviolently standing up to the brutality of the state security apparatus. Predictably the London riots have not been perceived particularly well in Egypt. Zeinobia – an Egyptian blogger – wrote: “I am sorry but you do not loot to object the murder of a young man, you are using his murder” and “To be honest I do not understand why protesters would set shops and houses on fire by all measures.”
*Interestingly – and very much unlike the Cairo protests – only 2,740 o the 32,500 police officers charged with ending the riots were actually armed.
Photo from Thats Globalization Bitches