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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Man shot dead close to riot scene
Police in Birmingham on Sunday night
Police and youths were involved in a stand-off on Sunday

An 18-year-old man has died in hospital after he was shot close to the scene of weekend rioting in Birmingham.

Two men have been arrested over the incident on Sunday in the Newtown area but police do not yet know if it is linked to the weekend violence.

Saturday's rioting involved youths from the black and Asian communities and was said to have been sparked by a claim that a girl of 14 had been raped.

Police say "rumour, myth and speculation" had fuelled the violence.

Mosque 'attacked'

Detectives stressed that forensic experts had been to the location of the alleged attack on the girl in the Lozells area but no formal complaint had been received.


A number of meetings had taken place in recent days in Lozells in protest at a lack of action over the rape, including one outside the alleged location.

The rape claim was also said to have been broadcast on a pirate radio station and put out on a community-based website.

The British Council said it had removed links from its website to the site until it was able to discuss why these comments were allowed to be published.

"As the UK's international organisation for cultural relations we would not wish to link our websites to any discussion online which promoted intercultural conflict," it said.

But police have stressed nobody has come forward claiming to be the victim, leading them to say "rumour, myth and speculation" had fuelled the violence.

On Sunday night further disturbances took place in the Lozells area, where a heavy police presence was in place.

Gangs of youths had gathered in response to an alleged attack on a nearby mosque.

Police said they were dispersed by a series of operations between 2200 and 0100 BST and the heavy rain across the West Midlands also helped to break up the crowds of youths.

Hours later police were called to Melbourne Avenue, about a mile from Lozells, in response to reports that a man had been seen with a firearm in the area.

The operation came several hours after several hundred youths were said to have marched "aggressively" down Lozells Road.

The violence on Saturday night culminated in the stabbing to death of a 23-year-old man.

A total of 35 people were taken to hospital with police reporting up to 80 separate criminal incidents. Five people were arrested.

Of those injured, nine remain in hospital, one with a fractured skull.

'Outrageous, unacceptable'

A number of petrol bombs were also thrown and at least 12 gunshots were reported.

Chief Supt Tom Coughlan said Sunday had been a much calmer night: "There was a lot of work done to reassure the community yesterday, using many, many community leaders and I think that message has started to get through.

"Added to the real policing presence last night that had the effect of calming the situation."

Baroness Uddin, Labour peer and advocate for social justice, human rights and equality, said: "What on earth has led to an unsubstantiated rumour leading to this kind of violence?

"There is absolutely no place for minority communities in Britain fighting amongst themselves in this way.

"Surely if there are criminal elements in our society, by working together you could get to the criminal much better, I think this is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See where the riots took place



SEE ALSO:
'80 crimes' in night of violence
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Community condemns street clashes
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Plea for calm after city clashes
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Community with history of tension
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Residents' fear during violence
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
In pictures: Birmingham clashes
23 Oct 05 |  In Pictures


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