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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Four held over festival stabbing
Handsworth on Sunday
Witnesses reported seeing ceremonial swords being drawn
Four people have been arrested in connection with the stabbing of a 44-year-old man at celebrations in Birmingham to mark the Sikh new year.

He was stabbed three times in the chest when large scale disorder broke out at Handsworth Park, where the Vaisakhi event was being held on Sunday.

The man remains in a critical condition in hospital, West Midlands Police said.

Five other people arrested after fighting in which several people were hurt have since been released on bail.

About 70,000 people had gone to the park for the celebrations, but West Midlands Police had to close it after trouble flared.

'Let him die'

Witnesses reported seeing ceremonial swords being drawn and men carrying sticks.

A paramedic said people tried to rock their ambulance and open the doors as they made their way through the crowds to treat the stabbing victim.

He said one man stood in front of the vehicle and said: "Leave him, let him die."

A police spokesman said two processions to the park - from Smethwick and Lozells - passed off peacefully.

Police gather by the park
Police were forced to close the park due to the trouble

But then sporadic disorder resulted in five people being arrested for various offences including affray, possessing offensive weapons and assault.

At about 1530 BST, larger scale fighting took place in the park, close to the main event, during which the man was stabbed.

Four people were arrested and remain in custody, police said.

Six other people suffered significant injuries, including head wounds, and two more received hospital treatment for cuts and bruising.

A paramedic motorcyclist had to be escorted from the park and an ambulance was also damaged during the disturbance.

A girl, who had attended the event with a friend, told BBC News that a man covered in blood fell at their feet as they walked along a road before a "bunch of guys piled on top of him".

"It was very violent," she added.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Large scale disorder broke out at the festival in Handsworth Park



SEE ALSO
Man stabbed amid festival trouble
23 Apr 07 |  West Midlands
Vaisakhi event marred by stabbing
22 Apr 07 |  West Midlands

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