Leader comment: Why we can’t tolerate what is happening on the city’s streets

Cars burn close to gas works in Craigentinny on Bonfire Night
Cars burn close to gas works in Craigentinny on Bonfire Night
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It is easy when you are dealing with anti-social behaviour on the streets of a generally safe city like Edinburgh to start making overblown comparisons to war zones.

We do not lightly draw the parallel that we have done on our front page tomorrow. The events that unfolded in parts of the city on Sunday night were genuinely shocking - for those of us who had the comfort of watching them from a safe distance. For those who watched it unfolding outside their homes, it was utterly terrifying.

Youths barricaded the roads, torched parked cars, threw fireworks down holes at gas mains road works and fired rockets at each other and passers-by like weapons. Make no mistake, this was lawlessness on the city streets.

Anti-social behaviour on this level is unusual in Edinburgh, but it is becoming less so. The police and council have had some success in tackling similar problems in north Edinburgh and that might offer a way forward now.

If adults had behaved like this on the streets of, say, Paris, the riot police would have been called in. Police in Edinburgh can’t act in the same way against teenagers, but a strong response is needed because many residents are feeling abandoned by the police.

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