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The BBC's Mike Thomson
"There have been complaints that the police were too soft"
 real 28k

Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
'Relief' as Leeds stays calm
Riot police in Leeds during the Harehills disturbances
The disorder was not repeated for a second night
The streets of Leeds have been mainly quiet overnight, following serious disturbances in the Harehills area of the city on Tuesday night.

At one point, about 50 Asian youths gathered close to where the trouble happened the evening before, and began hurling rocks at passing cars.

But within ten minutes calm was restored by community elders.

Police vans in Harehills after the violence
Police are still keeping a high profile in Harehills
West Yorkshire police had been out in force to quell any disturbance, with vans full of officers parked in prominent positions.

They said there had been "a couple of minor incidents" but nothing approaching the previous night's rioting.

BBC correspondent Mike Thomson said there was "widespread relief" among Harehills residents on Thursday morning.

But he also said there had been complaints that the police had been too soft on troublemakers on Tuesday night.

Then two dozen cars and a shop were set on fire and police were pelted with bricks and petrol bombs during the trouble, which lasted for several hours and involved about 200 people.

Broken window
Many locals blame the trouble on outsiders
Some members of the Asian community said tensions had been heightened by the arrest of a local man on Sunday.

Police have not responded to allegations that officers mistreated him and doused him with CS spray.

But the arrested man, Hossein Miah, 31, called for calm on Wednesday.

"I don't want to encourage or support last night's violence, nor do I want any further violence, using Sunday's incident as an excuse," he said in a statement.

Mr Miah said he was "taking legal steps" to ensure his complaint against police was investigated.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Smith said there could be no excuse for such violence.

He said: "Any attempt to legitimise criminal behaviour by saying it is connected with racial tension or the style of policing is just an excuse for young males committing crime on the streets."

Six people have been arrested. A full investigation is under way.

'Premeditated' violence

Police said the riot, in which two officers were slightly injured, was "premeditated".

Assistant Chief Constable Graham Maxwell said officers had been lured to the area by reports of a petrol bomb attack, no evidence of which had been found.

The disturbances, in a multi-ethnic area of Leeds, come less than two weeks after racial violence flared in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

But local residents agreed with police that the Harehills violence was not racially or politically motivated.

Many residents said those involved in the Harehills disturbances had travelled from elsewhere, possibly Oldham.

But police said they have so far found no evidence to prove this.

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