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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Burnley's 'midsummer madness'
Burned out car in Burnley street
The "mindless violence" lasted the entire weekend
More than 200 youths were involved in inter-racial clashes in Burnley at the weekend. BBC correspondent Dave Guest felt he was witnessing depressingly familiar scenes.

There was a certain feeling of déja vu as I drove into Burnley during the early hours of Monday morning.

A phone call from the newsdesk had alerted me to racial unrest on the streets of the Lancashire town.

It was virtually a month to the day since I had been despatched to Oldham, on a similar early morning mission to cover the first of the race riots there.

BBC correspondent Dave Guest
Dave Guest: "Déja vu"
On arrival in Burnley there was the depressingly familiar scene of rows of police vans, lines of officers in full body armour, burned out cars, shattered windows and stunned residents wondering how this could have happened in their community.

Walking along Colne Road at around 0100 BST, the residue of violence lay all around - the splintered glass, the smell of smoke.

Asian and white youths had clashed in various parts of the town following a weekend of racial tension.

The spark had apparently been an attack on an Asian taxi driver a couple of nights previously.

Tit for tat revenge attacks had followed. The police had tried to keep the two sides apart - but mayhem had ensued.

Asian and white homes and businesses were targeted in the mindless violence that followed.

'Outside influences'

A white woman told me she had lots of Asian friends - people had always got on together well in this town.

The Asian owner of a take-away boarded the windows of his shop as told me how he had cowered inside as the place was attacked by white youths.

Most people I talked with spoke of outside influences trying to "stir" things up in their town.

Shahid Malik, who works for the Commission for Racial Equality and whose father is deputy mayor of Burnley, is convinced far right groups have been trying to capitalise on the unrest less than 30 miles away in Oldham.

Inspector John Clucas, of Lancashire Police, believes all those involved were from the Burnley area. But he is aware of the need for repair work to community relations.

The vast majority of Burnley's townsfolk will hope the weekend's events were more a case of midsummer madness rather than a symptom of more deep-rooted racial unrest.

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25 Jun 01 | UK
Race riot town in talks
15 Jun 01 | UK Politics
'No no-go areas in Oldham'
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