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Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Calm restored after night of riots
Burned out cars lie in the street
West Yorkshire police say they have restored calm to the streets of Bradford after a night of what they have described as "senseless criminality".

In some of the worst rioting in Britain for many years, 120 police officers were injured and 36 people were arrested during several hours of running battles between riot police and about 1,000 mainly Asian youths.

Buildings and cars were burned, and shops were looted in the Manningham district of the city.

Disturbances began in the city centre, after crowds gathered to protest against a planned National Front rally.

Firefighters sift through the wreckage of a car showroom
More than 900 riot police were sent to deal with the violence.

An extra 425 officers were drafted in from the forces in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Merseyside, Humberside, Cleveland and Northumbria, when it looked as though West Yorkshire's 500 would be overwhelmed.

Police said 36 people were arrested, 23 of whom were Asian, and 13 white.

Two white men received knife injuries - one suffering a slash wound to his back and the other a stab wound to a leg.

The worst of the violence was in Whiteabbey Road, one of the main routes through Manningham.

Baton charge

The police regularly charged the crowd with shields and batons but were forced to retreat repeatedly as the crowd surged forward.

Mohammed Amran of the Commission for Racial Equality in Bradford said the situation got out of control.

"The police were quite heavy handed," he told BBC News.

But Chief Superintendent Stuart Hide, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Our priority is public safety and officers' safety.


There can be no excuse for this criminal behaviour and we would urge those involved to clear the streets and go home

Chief Supt
Stuart Hide
"What we are seeing is wanton violence, which is putting lives at risks.

"Police officers have come under attack from groups of youths with bricks, baseball bats, hammers and petrol bombs.

"Two police horses have been injured, one of them has been stabbed.

"There are reports of at least six members of the public, local people, who have received injuries and are being treated in hospital."

Manningham Labour Club was firebombed while people remained inside, according to Mr Hide.

Rioters had also stolen cars from the forecourt of a BMW garage in the area, he said.

The cars had then been repeatedly driven at police lines and the garage torched, Mr Hide added.

Local people say up to 1,000 youths were involved
Local people say up to 1,000 youths were involved
A Conservative Club, a Mitsubishi garage and a nearby hotel had also been firebombed, he said.

Mr Hide concluded: "There can be no excuse for this criminal behaviour and we would urge those involved to clear the streets and go home."

"Our intention is to return the city to normality as soon as possible."

Bradford is the latest northern town to suffer race rioting this summer.

Oldham and Burnley have both had serious incidents but the trouble in Manningham is on a much more serious scale.

Ban marches

Bradford, with an Asian population of about 100,000, has a history of good relations between different ethnic groups.

This week, Home Secretary David Blunkett granted the police special powers to ban marches and outdoor meetings in Bradford until 27 September.

But tension flared on Saturday amid reports that members of the National Front still planned to demonstrate.

Police attend an injured man in the centre of Bradford
Police attend to an injured man

The Anti-Nazi League held a counter-demonstration in Centenary Square attended by about 500 people, mainly Asian men.

Witnesses said the violence appeared to have started when a group of white men emerged from a pub and hurled racist abuse at the crowd.

Community leader Abu Bashir told BBC News that the police needed to find ways to communicate more effectively with young Asians.

"We need to recruit more Asian police," he added.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Barnie Choudhury reports from Manningham
"West Yorkshire police say they were surprised by the ferocity of the violence"
Right Reverend David Smith, Bishop of Bradford
"I was surpised by the composition of the crowd"
Manwar Jan Khan, Manningham Residents' Association
"The blame needs to lie with the National Front"
David Blunkett MP, Home Secretary
"Sheer, mindless violence"
Find out more about the violence in northern England during the summer of 2001


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