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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Brutal reality for a once-proud city
Burnt out cars in Manningham, Bradford
Aftermath of a weekend of violence in Bradford
By BBC News Online special correspondent Mike McKay in Bradford

Two o'clock in the morning. Under the orange street lights the terraced rows of north west Bradford were eerily quiet.

"Eerily" because it was hard to believe that a neighbourhood which 24 hours earlier had been seething with rioters and blazing cars was now a scene of slumbering Sunday modesty.

You could have heard a pebble drop. But the placidity was belied by the shocking incongruities.

The dozen or so ash-grey burnt-out wrecks of cars on the BMW car lot in Oak Road. The sagging, smoking ruins of the Labour Club. The charred, windowless shell of the Globe pub at the top of Whetley Hill.

Disaffected youth

This was the brutal reality of J B Priestley's once-proud city. Now it was the crucible of disaffected youth.

Asian youth. Or was it? Does "Asian youth" truly describe the hordes of restless, wandering children of Pakistani and Bangladeshi parents who arrived here 40 years ago?

The parents, often second generation arrivals, are among the most shocked and despondent. They sought to raise their children in the old ways but understood that new cultural influences were at work.

To all intents and purposes, these youths are British - with some variations on that age-old theme.

Music, religion - and who they support in international cricket - may be different.

They're not listening to anybody

Mohammed Riaz, advisor on race relations

But they share the confidence - the bravado - of their white brothers when sauntering Bradford's streets. And they are equally determined to challenge authority.

Many older Asians fear the present generation is being lost completely.

At the height of the rioting on Saturday, Mohammed Riaz, a special advisor to William Hague on race relations, said: "They are not listening to anybody."

The Bishop of Bradford, David Smith, sought to calm the rioters, but, he said, he couldn't: "All I got from them was abuse of the police."

Restaurant attacked

Sunday night, amid much apprehension, passed off much more quietly - but wasn't incident-free.

In one of two isolated attacks, all the ground-floor windows and the front door of a popular Pakistani restaurant were shattered by raiders.

The owners described a gang of between eight and 15 young men, many wearing bandanas to conceal their identity, heaving bricks and wielding base-ball bats.

Policeman talking to Asian youths
Police speak with young Asian men in Bradford

They also targeted restaurant staff cars outside for the same treatment. Later eight men were arrested, some on suspicion of conspiring to riot.

Others were questioned about possession of offensive weapons, drugs and containers of petrol.

Curiously, this incident happened in the suburb of Greengates, five miles from the city centre and previously unmarked by serious racial conflict.

Clientele 99% white

In the second main incident, a landlord and his wife cowered upstairs while their pub - the Bradford Arms in Manningham Lane - was being attacked with petrol bombs.

But there were two heartening effects of these attacks. The fear of the publican and his wife turned to relief when they realised the men hammering at their ground-floor door were two Asian neighbours determined to help them to safety.

Destruction at a BMW showroom in Bradford
A wrecked car outside a BMW showroom
And outside the shattered Kebabsheesh restaurant , in Greengates, white neighbours spoke with fury about the attack on a restaurant they regarded with affection.

It has been in business for 13 years and was being refurbished. Its clientele is "99% white people", said an angry neighbour.

"We'll be back as soon as possible," said the owner Jahangir Durrani. "We've always had excellent relations with our local community."

He said the local police were at the scene "within seconds" of the alarm being raised and set up road blocks.

On Monday West Yorkshire Police, supported by a number of other northern forces, were preparing to be on patrol again, ready to quell any sign of resurgent trouble.

The BBC's Mike McKay
"Patrol vans moved about the city in convoy"
Find out more about the violence in northern England during the summer of 2001




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