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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet in Burnley
"Local people say the BNP is just one factor in a complicated situation"
 real 56k

The BBC's Barnie Choudury
"Many feel the police and council are talking to the wrong people"
 real 28k

Home Secretary David Blunkett
"These incidents start with anti-social behaviour"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Blair attacks BNP's 'hideous influence'
Scenes from Burnley
The prime minister condemned the violence
Prime Minister Tony Blair has attacked the "hideous influence" of the British National Party (BNP) in the wake of racial violence in Burnley and Oldham.

Speaking in the Commons, he condemned the recent riots, saying there was no excuse whatever for attacks on the police or for acts of racist violence.

Mr Blair said the BNP - which polled strongly in the two towns - did "nothing but try and stir up racial hatred".

The situation in Burnley is gradually returning to normal after violence and racial tension between Asian and white youths.

Hit-and-run

Lancashire police said there was one serious incident on Tuesday night when a white man was injured in what detectives said was a racially motivated hit-and-run attack.

Police say they are still maintaining a "significant" presence in the town over the next few days.

Chief Superintendent John Knowles said there were signs of improvement, but sounded a note of caution.

"Though things are calm now, there is still a risk that things might flare up," he said.

A car - with four Asian men inside - was driven at two white men after racist remarks were exchanged shortly after 2100 BST on Tuesday.

The pair were walking from the town centre towards the mainly Asian areas of Stoneyholme and Daneshouse.

Task force

One of the men, 38, jumped out the way, but his 17-year-old friend suffered a broken leg and remains in Burnley General Hospital.

A team of 30 detectives investigating all the serious incidents of the past few days is appealing for witnesses.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has appealed for an end to racial tension in the town.

Mr Blunkett called on leaders of all communities to spread a message of tolerance.

"There is a responsibility at local level for people to be one step ahead of the game to see what is coming," he said.

A taskforce is being set up to examine the causes of the disturbances.

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