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Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Summer of racial violence
Riot police in Oldham
Police described the riots in Oldham as "sheer carnage"
The overnight riots in Bradford are the latest example of towns in northern England where racial tension has spilled over into violence.

In Burnley, Lancashire, a weekend of violence in June climaxed with more than 200 youths attacking shops, homes and vehicles.

Police in riot gear managed to head off direct confrontation between gangs of Asian and white youths but admitted they were taken by surprise at the scale of the violence.

The riots were an escalation of minor disturbances the previous night which were apparently sparked by white youths attacking an Asian taxi driver.

The clean-up operation gets under way in Oldham
The clean-up operation gets under way in Oldham
Asian community leaders later blamed police who, they said, had taken 30 minutes to respond to the alleged attack.

After the violence, police said they would work with members of the community and community leaders to prevent similar events happening again.

In May, violence erupted in the nearby town of Oldham.

Hundreds of Asian youths clashed with police during a night of rioting, which the police described as "sheer carnage".

'No-go zones'

Fifteen officers were injured and 17 people arrested after weeks of racial tension between white and Asian youths spilt over into violence.

The riots were believed to have begun after a gang of white youths attacked Asian homes in the Glodwick area of the town.

Youth worker Ashid Ali, chairman of the Oldham Bangladeshi Youth Association, said far-right organisations had been trying to provoke violence for weeks.

Youths attacked homes, shops and vehicles in Burnley
Youths attacked homes, shops and vehicles in Burnley
"Unfortunately the whole of the UK will look at this as being a riot between the police and Asian youths, when it was clearly sparked by white youths," he said.

The Greater Manchester town has significant Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations, living in similar but separate run down inner-city enclaves.

Last year more than 600 racist incidents were logged by Oldham police and in 60% of them the victims were white.

But police denied that Asian youths were turning parts of the town into "no-go zones" for whites.

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