A 13-year-old girl is among five teenagers arrested over a mass brawl involving youths armed with machetes at a Birmingham cinema.
Families were watching Frozen 2 at Star City when the disorder broke out late on Saturday afternoon, sparking a mass evacuation of the complex.
Police said up to 100 teenagers were involved in the “major disorder”, where people were armed with machetes.
“Dozens of officers were sent to the complex after a 999 call just after 5.30pm reporting a group of youths with machetes,” a spokesperson for West Midlands Police said.
“Two machetes were seized during the trouble, which saw pockets of fighting and seven police officers left with minor injuries as they dealt with the crowds in and around the cinema.”
Armed police were deployed to the scene, drawing Tasers to restore order following a “very hostile response”.
Officers were left with facial injuries, and a knife was recovered from a nearby roundabout.
Investigators said they were working to understand the reason behind the disorder, which bears the hallmarks of an organised fight between rival groups.
One witness said that “a young boy was crying on the floor with his mother” as the fight broke out.
Rachael Allison told the Press Association: “The police told everyone to leave the cinema as they held Taser guns in their hands and started to bring in guard dogs.
“I spoke to a policeman who told me it is unclear whether the kids had weapons and also stated when kids fight they bring their group of friends.“
Eyewitness Choleigh McGuire said the fight started as she queued up with her daughter for Frozen 2.
“There was a fight in the cinema ... group of girls on one girl and it all escalated,” she wrote on Twitter. “The group ran into the cinema rooms to hide and a lot of police turned up.
“Has to be one of the scariest experiences of my life, so sad all the little children were there.”
Five teenagers have been arrested. A 13-year-old girl, another girl and boy aged 14, and 19-year-old man were held on suspicion of assaulting police officers.
Another boy, aged 14, was arrested for obstructing police.
Cinema managers closed the complex for the rest of the evening and police issued a dispersal order, giving them powers to move crowds on and arrest those who refused.
Supt Ian Green, from Birmingham police, said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.
“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.
“Thankfully, the injuries to our officers were very minor. We’ve also recovered two machetes and a knife, and it’s clear that some of those who went to Star City last night were intent on causing trouble.
“We’ve had a great response from the public who have been very supportive of our officers.”
Supt Green appealed for people to pass footage or photos of the disorder to police, who have already received phone calls identifying some suspects.
“We understand that families with young children will have been left upset by what they saw last night, but we urge people to appreciate that our aim last night was to protect the public and restore order, and that’s what we achieved,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police online or by calling 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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