* Cameron to address parliament on crisis
* Courts struggle to process arrested rioters
* Prime minister under pressure as cleanup proceeds
* Police reinforcements keeps London relatively peaceful
(Recasts, adds details)
By Matt Falloon
LONDON, Aug 11 Prime Minister David Cameron,
grappling with what could prove a defining crisis of his
premiership, will tell parliament on Thursday how he plans to
tackle the "sick" pockets of society he blames for Britain's
worst unrest in decades.
He is under pressure to soften austerity plans, toughen
policing and do more for inner-city communities, even as
economic malaise grips a nation whose social and perhaps racial
tensions have exploded in four nights of bewildering mayhem.
Cameron has ordered a rare recall of parliament from its
summer recess to debate the unrest which flared first in north
London after police shot dead an Afro-Caribbean man.
Britain's finance minister, George Osborne, will also
address parliament amid concern the rioting could damage
confidence in the economy and in London, one of the world's
biggest financial centres and venue for next year's Olympics.
With the public seething over the looting of anything from
sweets to televisions, Cameron has dismissed the rioters as no
more than opportunistic criminals and denied the unrest was
linked to planned spending cuts, mostly not yet implemented.
But community leaders say inequality, cuts to public
services and youth unemployment also fed into the violence in
London, Birmingham, Manchester and other multi-ethnic cities.
"Blacks, Asians, whites, we all live in the same community.
Why do we have to kill one another?" said Tariq Jahan, whose son
was one of three Muslim men run over by a car and killed while
apparently protecting property in Birmingham.
"Step forward if you want to lose your sons, otherwise calm
down and go home, please," he said.
Many Britons are appalled at the scenes on their streets,
from the televised mugging of an injured teenager to a
photograph of a Polish woman leaping from a burning building.
MORAL HIGH GROUND
But occupying the moral high ground is tricky in a country
where some lawmakers and senior policemen have succumbed to
material greed with expenses and bribery scandals, expecting to
get away with it and top bankers have taken jaw-dropping bonuses
even as the taxpayer has had to bail out financial institutions.
As the clear-up proceeds, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat
coalition government must find quick fixes to avoid further
unrest while also addressing longer-term problems in what
Cameron has called "broken Britain".
"There are pockets of our society that are not just broken
but frankly sick," Cameron said on Wednesday. He had waited two
days before returning from holiday to deal with the crisis.
So far Cameron has authorised police to use baton rounds and
water cannon where necessary. One in three people want police to
use live bullets on rioters, according to a YouGov opinion poll
published in The Sun tabloid newspaper.
A surge in police numbers -- and heavy rain in many places
-- helped calm streets on Wednesday night, but the previous
episodes of often unchecked disorder have embarrassed the
authorities and exhausted emergency services.
Businessmen and residents had come together to protect their
areas. Police in some areas complained vigilantes were only
complicating their task and asked people to stay at home.
Police have arrested more than 1,000 people across England,
filling cells and forcing courts to work through the night to
process hundreds of cases. Among those charged were a teaching
assistant, a charity worker and an 11-year-old boy.
The local council in Lewisham, south London, sent out a text
message to residents reading: "Do you know where your children
are?" -- although in some cases parents had joined the looting
alongside their offspring.
The opposition Labour party, eager for the government to
soften its approach to tackling a record budget deficit, said
cuts to police budgets had contributed to the violence.
"The scale of government cuts is making it harder for the
police to do their jobs and keep us safe," said Yvette Cooper,
Labour's home affairs spokeswoman.
Long-term tensions between police and youth, a dearth of
opportunities for children from disadvantaged areas and visible
inequalities where the wealthy often live in elegant houses just
yards away from run-down city estates have been highlighted.
But Cameron's view of the rioters as thrill-seeking thugs
who are indicative of a breakdown in Britain's social fabric and
morals has struck a chord with many people.
Tensions have grown in Britain for some time, with the
economy struggling to clamber out of an 18-month recession, one
in five young people out of work and high inflation squeezing
incomes and hitting the poor hardest.
(Writing by Alistair Lyon)