This paper compares the wider contextual issues and underlying causes of the riots that occurred in the banlieues and other areas of France from 2005 with those of the urban disorders that have taken place in England and Wales from the 1980s, placing the latter into three distinct categorical and temporal waves. It not only explores the extent to which it is possible to draw out causal similarities between the events in these countries, but to extrapolate from these to theoretical understandings of causal commonalities of urban riots generally.
Protests following the June 12 election in Iran turned violent, with shootings, car burnings, shops being attacked, and massive arrests. But it appears that violence, far from being an activity of the rioters, was not only used by the state in repression, but also as 'staged violence' by state actors that was later blamed on protestors to make them appear as dangerous vandals. This is, I believe, a new element in the state repertoire of actions against peaceful protestors. The protestors, in turn, need to find ways to combat both the repression and the state enactments, if their movement is to survive. As in other cases (Burma, China), in Iran it appears that mass protest only has an impact on governments that care about their humanitarian standing (e.g. democracies), or whose elites no longer support their system (Iran under the Shah, Eastern Europe). Violent protest thus can prick the conscience of democratic regimes, but has no role in making 'velvet revolutions' against authoritarian states.