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Libya, Iran, calls on Britian to stop abusing rioters

August 11, 2011

Policemen relax as they rest on a side street in Wandsworth, south London August 9, 2011. London police, hampered by past criticism of heavy-handed tactics, vowed to get tough with rioters after three nights of violence but there are questions about how long the force can keep up its massive operation if trouble persists.

The Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi said Wednesday that British Prime Minister David Cameron had lost legitimacy and should go, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Britain on Wednesday to curb its “savage” treatment of rioters.

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.
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.

Meanwhile, the Iranian president offered his own criticism of the British police force’s handling of the riots, saying “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.”

Britain was in the forefront of Western countries that condemned Iran’s crushing response to massive street demonstrations that followed Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June 2009, events Tehran described as anti-government riots stirred up by foreign enemies.While Cameron has called the burning and looting in Britain “criminality, pure and simple”, Ahmadinejad portrayed the events as peaceful protests brutally repressed by police.

“What kind of a treatment is this for the people who run out of patience because of poverty and discrimination? … I advise them to correct their savage behavior because this kind of savage treatment of people is absolutely not acceptable.”

On Tuesday a member of Iran’s parliament, Hossein Ebrahimi, told the semi-official Fars news agency that Britain should allow a delegation of human rights monitors to investigate the situation in its troubled cities.

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