This UK city is still facing the brunt of India-Pakistan Asia Cup match
India and Pakistan clashed twice during the Asia Cup 2022, with both sides winning once each. However, over 20 days since, a large-scale clash between communities in Leicester has broken out.
The United Kingdom (UK) police have called for calm after conflicts between fans following the India-Pakistan 2022 Asia Cup group-stage match at the end of last month spilled over into severe disorder on Saturday and the early hours of Sunday in the Eastern England city of Leicester. Reports on social media have claimed that the spark this weekend happened to be a protest march, with footage displaying police attempting to hold back two sets of crowds. Besides, objects like glass bottles were also being thrown, while some could be seen bringing sticks and batons.
"We have had numerous reports of an outbreak of disorder in parts of the east Leicester area of the city. We have got officers there. We are taking control of the situation. Additional officers are en route, and dispersal and stop search powers have been authorised. Please do not get involved. We are calling for calm," said Rob Nixon (Leicestershire Police temporary chief constable) in a video on Twitter.
The local police force has confirmed that its officers heeded in large numbers as diffusion, and stop and search powers were permitted to restore calm to the area. A large group of people were searched, and a couple of men remain in custody, with one on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disturbance and another on suspicion of possessing a bladed weapon.
"Several incidents of violence and damage have been reported to the police and investigated. We are aware of a video showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester. It appears to have occurred while police officers were dealing with public disorder in the area. The incident will be investigated. We continue to call for dialogue and calm with support from local community leaders. We will not tolerate violence or disorder in our city. A significant police operation will remain in the area in the coming days," said Leicestershire Police.
Police had imposed comparable disbandment orders earlier this month, a few days after the unrest, which was believed to have involved local Hindu and Muslim groups in the wake of India versus Pakistan game in Dubai on August 28. On Friday, Chief Constable Nixon established that there had been 27 arrests as part of policing operation in the east Leicester area". He even thanked the community for working together, calling for calm in the area.
"I don't think anyone saw the confrontation [on Saturday] as a likely outcome, and police had been given reassurance that things were calming down. It's mostly young men in their late teens and early 20s, and I have heard suggestions that people have come in from outside looking for an opportunity to have a set to. It's very worrying for people in the areas where this has happened," Sir Peter Soulsby (Leicester city mayor) declared.
Sanjiv Patel, representing Hindu and Jain temples across Leicester, told BBC that all groups have lived in accord in the city for quite a few years. But, in the past few weeks, it has been clear some things need to be discussed around the table to determine what people are disappointed about. He said that resolving violence is not the way to deal with it.
"Across the Hindu and Jain community and with our Muslim brothers and sisters and leaders, we are consistently saying 'calm minds, calm heads'," said Patel. Member of Leicester East Parliament, Claudia Webbe, defined Leicester as one of the most eclectic cities in the UK and guided that unity is the strength.
(With inputs from PTI)