Reaction to L.A. Riots Ripple Around the World With AM-LA Riots, Bjt
LONDON (AP) _ France’s socialist president said President Bush’s conservative program was to blame for the Los Angeles violence, Libya spoke of a black uprising in America, and the biggest Japanese travel agency suspended its tours of Los Angeles for three days.
South Korean President Roh Tae-Woo asked Friday that all means be taken to ensure the safety of Korean-Americans after South Korea’s consulate in Los Angeles was closed when it came under attack during the rioting.
Relations among the estimated 300,000 Koreans in Los Angeles and members of the black community have been tense. Many Koreans run grocery stores in or near mainly black neighborhoods.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry said one Korean-American was killed and at least 30 injured in the rioting, and nearly 100 Korean-owned stores were burned, looted or robbed.
In Tokyo, the giant Japan Travel Bureau Inc. suspended its tours of Los Angeles, saying it would not guarantee passengers’ safety.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Masamichi Hanabusa expressed ″worry″ over the riots.
Former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu was in Los Angeles on Thursday to attend the opening of the Japanese-American National Museum, Hanabusa said, and windows at the Hotel New Otani, where Kaifu was staying, were shattered.
″We hope the situation will return to normal as soon as possible,″ Hanabusa said.
France’s socialist President Francois Mitterrand blamed the racial conflict on ″poor social programs.″
″George Bush is a generous man who embodies an extremely conservative political ideology, and American society is conservative and economically capitalist,″ Mitterrand said in a radio interview. ″Here are the results.″
In Libya, living under sanctions instigated partly by Bush over the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the state-run radio and television devoted more than half their news programs to what some called ″the intifada of the blacks.″
″This shows the injustice of the American system,″ said a commentator on Libyan radio. ″It points to the racial segregation in the United States, to attacks on blacks and to George Bush’s weakness. He is not fit to be president.″
In Berlin, violence erupted after a march on May Day, Europe’s Labor Day. Leftists organizers carried banners sympathizing with victims of racial violence in the United States, and said there was a link between the poor of Los Angeles and ″victims of fascism″ in Germany and other countries.
In Madrid, the center-left El Mundo said Los Angeles encapsulated a global situation of white minorities getting smaller and richer and ″the masses of dark and yellow skin, every day worse off, poorer and pushed toward despair.″
Newspapers poured out columns of indignant comment about the innocent verdicts in the Rodney King trial and carried huge pictures of Los Angeles burning. Some focused on shots of laughing looters hauling away clothes, videos and liquor.
Headlines blazoned ″Race Hate.″ Among the British tabloids, ″L.A. Lawless″ was a favorite.
″America itself is on trial. Its justice mocked by prejudice. Its very nationhood rent by race,″ commented Britain’s right-wing Daily Mail, a leading campaigner for tightening British immigration laws.
While some leaders joined in the criticism of U.S. race relations, most stayed silent about a crisis that for many was a reminder of tensions at home over immigrattion.
Japanese commentators expressed shock at what they perceived as the deep racial divisions wracking America. One educator, Hayato Yamanaka, warned the same could happen to Japan, which prides itself on its homogeneity, if it liberalizes immigration.
″The way people in the United States protest against such things and their explosive power are beyond imagination in Japan,″ Ryoko Ozawa, a noted social critic, told the Asahi newspaper.