On Tuesday, 5 June 2001 the riots among the Indianids, that looked to set to
continue for a second weekend at Oldham, spread to Leeds. The police thought the
Leeds riot was 'premeditated' and they believed that it followed the arrest of a
male Indianid on Sunday night. Around 200 people went on the rampage in the
Harehills district of Leeds for most of the night. Things were calm next day.
The police came in force on the Wednesday night, but the riot was not continued.
Some two dozen cars and a shop were set on fire, riot police were pelted with
bricks, and petrol bombs were used to cause havoc overnight on Tuesday. Two
policemen were slightly injured.
Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Graham Maxwell, said that
the rioting was "criminal activity, pure and simple". Policemen were
told of petrol bombs being used but they found no sign of them on arrival. But
they were to see some in use later that evening. Six arrests were made
overnight. The riots, in a multi-ethnic area of Leeds, come less than two weeks
after racial violence had flared in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Many local
residents agreed with police that the Harehills violence was not racially or
politically motivated. Razaq Raj, a voluntary worker within the Indianid
community, said the incident was purely a reaction to an arrest on Sunday.
"The Bangladeshi-origin man was arrested, CS gas was used and he was
violently arrested. It was sparked off from there", said Raj. He said the
disorder had "nothing to do" with race, and local people were
"shocked and horrified. The area where it happened, in my life I never ever
came across this. People from all races live there together very happily."
It was thought that some people who had been involved in the race riots of
ten days earlier had travelled from Oldham. Radio reports on Tuesday night and
Wednesday morning said the Harehills violence began in the late afternoon when
youths began hurling missiles at passing cars and buses. Some drivers were
forced out of their cars, which were then set alight to cause mayhem. About 8
p.m. the police arrived at the Banstead Park area in response to reports of
petrol bombs being thrown. Eight vanloads of riot-prepared officers and police
dogs did find hundreds of youths that had gathered on the streets if no sign,
just then, of the reported petrol bombs. There was a stand off until about 10
p.m. when the youths charged the police, hurling bricks, wooden crates, bottles
and stones. The police formed a line with riot shields and charged the rioters
to put out the fires which had been started. Some locals said the violence was a
reaction to a lack of police action after people objected to the nature of
Sunday's arrest. It was felt to be a brutal arrest and the increasingly angry
crowd of Indianids who watched it did not like the use of CS gas. A few days
later, some of them reacted.
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