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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 January, 2005, 16:14 GMT
Iraqis clash at polling station
Clashes outside Iraq polling station in Manchester
Fighting broke out between demonstrators and voters
Iraqis have clashed with demonstrators against the election outside a polling station in Manchester.

About 200 demonstrators were chased by another group who burned their flags, while other Iraqis clashed with police.

Oldham Athletic manager Brian Talbot was also attacked after his car became stuck in traffic near the disturbance.

One man has been taken to hospital with minor head injuries sustained during the clashes. A 34-year-old man from Manchester has been arrested.

Mr Talbot accidentally struck one of the Iraqis and more than 20 then surrounded his car, smashing its windows and attacking him, say police.

Looked shaken

Mr Talbot suffered a neck injury, cuts and scratches and his car was damaged.

He managed to get to Oldham's Boundary Park ground in time for his side's FA Cup fourth round match with Bolton Wanderers.
Why are these people who are not even from Iraq protesting against these elections?
David Kahrmann, Iraq Election Team

Witnesses at the ground described him as looking shaken.

An Oldham Athletic spokesman told BBC GMR: "Brian was very shaken up and his car was in a right state.

"But he has made it to the game and he just wants to get on with the match now.

"He was told he did not have to come if he did not feel up to it but he insisted on being here."

Very agitated

The demonstrators were from Hizb-ut-Tahrir - an Islamic group which is against the elections in Iraq.

David Kahrmann, from the Iraq Election Team, said the protesters "were not even Iraqis".

Brian Talbot's damaged car outside Boundary Park
Brian Talbot's car was attacked and he was assaulted

"The Iraqi community here were saying, 'Why are these people who are not even from Iraq protesting against these elections?'," he said.

Dr Abdul Wahid, of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, said his demonstrators had begun walking away from the scene after election organisers said they were worried their presence could prove trouble.

He said: "The local Iraqis came out and got very agitated. We walked away, but a small group started chasing us."

Cordons installed

Thousands of Iraqi expatriates from across the North and Midlands have come to Manchester since Friday to vote in the elections.

More than 13,000 voters have registered in Manchester and an estimated 6,000 attended the polling station in Oldham Road, Collyhurst, on Saturday.

In London where voting was also taking place, Metropolitan Police Superintendent Steve Deehan said 80 officers had been deployed to cordon off two demonstrations staged separately at Wembley by the Hizb ut-Tahrir group and the Iraqi Communist Party.

He said: "All the groups have problems with each other. As a result of the antagonism between them, we have had to place cordons between them."

Arab and Kurdish Iraqis clashed in Manchester

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