LONDON: Muslim and Hindu communities in the English city of Leicester have been involved in a series of violent clashes in the wake of a cricket match between India and Pakistan on Aug. 28.
Following the latest tensions, which broke out into “serious disorder,” a large number of police were deployed on to the streets.
The first brawl following August’s cricket match saw gangs of young men fighting each other on the city’s Golden Mile.
The latest incident saw two men arrested — one on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder, and another on suspicion of possession of a bladed article — as large groups of young men from both communities threw glass bottles across streets.
Elder members of both communities have warned that “fringe elements” are using social media to incite anger through false or exaggerated claims.
One video appeared to show a flag being pulled from a local Hindu temple, while other social media posts apparently showed anti-Muslim actions.
Suleman Nagi, from the Federation of Muslims, said elder family members from both communities — which have “lived peacefully in Leicester for decades” — should encourage younger men from protesting in groups.
He added: “Sectarianism does raise its ugly head all over the world. We don’t want it any time but this is being disrespectful to our head of state. We are calling on people to pull back … Healing is much needed in our city of Leicester.”
Leicester East Labour MP Claudia Webbe used Twitter to appeal for “cool heads” and encouraged those involved in the violence to “go home.”
She added: “Your family will be worried for your safety, please accept the advice of the police who are trying to defuse and are calling for calm.”
Leicestershire Police’s temporary chief constable, Rob Nixon, said: “We have had numerous reports of an outbreak of disorder in parts of the east Leicester area of the city. We have got officers there, we are taking control of that situation.
“There are additional officers en route and dispersal powers and stop search powers have been authorized. Please do not get involved, we are calling for calm.”