Asian generation gap blamed for riot

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The Independent Online
JOJO MOYES

and JIM CUSICK

Police met parents and community leaders in Bradford yesterday to try to prevent a third night of violence following violent clashes between police and Asian youths over the weekend.

But the two sides appeared to blame each other for the trouble that led to the riots in the Manningham area, in which 21 people were arrested and four people were injured.

Senior police last night blamed a generation gap in the Asian community, saying that young Asians were alienated from their parents and cultural leaders.

"The police is simply the anvil on which the youth is beating out its frustration and anger," said West Yorkshire assistant chief constable, Norman Bettison.

On Saturday night police were bombarded with petrol bombs, windows were smashed, cars burnt out and a garage partially destroyed in rioting by 400 youths. Some community leaders blamed the police, claiming they ignored advice on avoiding violence, given at a meeting on Friday following ten arrests.

"The police didn't listen," said Khadim Hussain, general secretary of the Bradford Council of Mosques, who said community leaders had called for public-order charges to be dropped.

"If they had agreed, we could have gone outside and told the younger people and there would have been no trouble. If they had co-operated, all this could have been prevented."

Last night, as a heavy police presence stretched across Bradford, about 300 members of the Asian community gathered on a green near Toller Lane police station at the heart of the troubled area.

Altaf Hussain, a local councillor, said community leaders had handed four demands to the police. They want an apology to the family of a baby they claim was slapped, suspension of two officers, an inquiry into the incident and charges dropped against 10 people arrested.

Some of the crowd bore placards saying "Stop police brutality" and "Stop police racism". At one point two missiles were thrown at police vans guarding the rear entrance.

The Bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev David Smith, later visited the scene to make a personal appeal for peace. He told the young protesters: "Now is the time to sit down and discuss what can be done. You won't, at the end of the day, get anywhere with violence."

Volcano of tension, page 2

Culture clash, page 15

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