Global riot reaction: Safety fears from Europe, satisfaction from Iran


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Shock, surprise and just the merest hint of schadenfreude marked world reaction to the rioting that has swept through London and other British cities.

Some of the responses were shaped by genuine concern for their own citizens, others were informed by a sense of bewilderment that such scenes should be playing out in one of the world's leading cities. In places that this year have seen protests turn into movements that removed governments, there was even dismay that rioters in London were resorting to looting and common violence.

In Iran, the official stance carried a flavour of satisfaction that a regular critic of Tehran should be under the microscope. Authorities in the country, which was rocked by democracy protests in 2009, called on the British police to exercise restraint against those people protesting over the shooting in Tottenham, which initially triggered the first demonstrations.

The website of Press TV, funded by the Iranian government, said that foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast had urged the British government to order the police to stop "the violent confrontation with the people".

The spokesman also called for human rights groups to be allowed to investigate the killing of Mark Duggan, last Thursday evening.

In Egypt, bloggers and users of Twitter watched the violence unfolding on live television and responded accordingly. Mosa'ab Elshamy, an activist, wrote on Twitter: "Egyptians and Tunisians took revenge for Khaled Said and Bouazizi by peacefully toppling their murdering regimes, not stealing DVD players."

In India, there was concern about the safety of the Indian cricket team, scheduled to start the third and all-important Test match later today at Edgbaston in Birmingham. But the team issued a statement through its tour manager, Anirudh Chaudhary, which made it clear that they intended to continue with the match.

With concern mounting about the possible impact on tourism, several foreign embassies warned their citizens about the dangers of being in London. The Russian authorities warned against travel to those areas of the city affected by the violence, while the Swedish embassy urged its nationals to stay vigilant.