[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 08:26 GMT 09:26 UK
Residents' fear during violence
Police in Birmingham
Tension had been caused by assault allegations
Eyewitnesses to violent clashes in Birmingham have described their concern as youths armed with batons and baseball bats ran through the streets.

Four people were stabbed - one fatally - and two shot in the Lozells area of the city on Saturday night.

Police clashed with youths attacking cars and smashing windows.

A local restaurant owner said: "People here are a bit frightened... no one wants to go outside because they are afraid of what might happen."

A reporter for the Press Association said her car was attacked.

They hit my car with the bats and kicked it, they also attacked other passing motorists on the main road we were on
Alex Thompson

Alex Thompson said: "They were a large group, more than 100 hooded youths with baseball bats running through the streets.

"They hit my car with the bats and kicked it, they also attacked other passing motorists on the main road we were on.

"They were running past me. I could see police with shields following them and I carried on driving away from them."

Speaking on Saturday night, she told the agency: "I'm caught between two rolling police roadblocks and can see hundreds of police dressed in riot gear advancing towards the crowds to push them back."

Ambulance attacked

An ambulance was also targeted by people carrying sticks, a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

They were angry and cussing. We had to hide. It's frightening
Woman, 45

"The two members of staff that were inside are all right and the vehicle has been withdrawn from the scene."

A woman, 45, who did not wish to be named, said groups of men were armed with batons and "everything else they could think of".

"They were angry and cussing. We had to hide. It's frightening. You don't know what is going to happen."

Street violence

Earlier on Saturday, India Murray, landlady of the Union Inn in Gerrard Street in Lozells said she had locked her doors after the pub's windows were smashed.

The police are at the top of the road in their riot wagons and helicopters are everywhere
India Murray
Pub landlady

"The police are at the top of the road in their riot wagons and helicopters are everywhere," she said.

Mrs Murray said tensions had been mounting over the past four or five days. Allegations about a sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl had fuelled the tension.

"It has been building up to it for the past few days. There was a protest along Lozells Road earlier today and all the shops were closed but it all kicked off about 6pm.

"We are nothing to do with what's going on. We want to know why the pub has been targeted," she added.

'Smashing windows'

Amjid Khan, owner of the Azim Balti House in Lozells Road said they had shut the restaurant early to avoid trouble.

"We can hear a lot of noise and we have been told that groups of youths are running around.

"They're also breaking car windows. If people are driving along in their cars they're smashing the windows while they drive.

"People here are a bit frightened. We are only a few doors away from what is going on and no one wants to go outside because they are afraid of what might happen."


SEE ALSO
Man killed in Birmingham clashes
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
'Assault' protest stops traffic
18 Oct 05 |  West Midlands

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific