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Riots were not about politics or protest: British PM

world Updated: Aug 11, 2011 19:08 IST

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The riots which tore through London and other major English cities for four days had nothing to do with politics or protest but were motivated by theft, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday.

The rioting was "not about politics or protest, it is about theft", Cameron told parliament after lawmakers were recalled from their summer recess to debate the worst looting and violence for decades.

Britain will consider calling in the army in future riots to free up police to deal with troublemakers, he also said on Thursday.

The government will also give the police powers to demand people remove face coverings and it will compensate people whose houses or businesses were damaged in riots in London and other English cities this week, he said.

"It is the government's responsibility to make sure that every future contingency is looked at, including whether there are tasks that the army could undertake that might free up more police for the front line," Cameron told parliament, holding an emergency session to discuss the mayhem.