Tuesday, February 26, 2008



'War' on the streets

A MAJOR police alert was sparked after up to 40 Hungarian and
Pakistani yobs brandishing machetes and knives clashed in

Tensions boiled over in the multi-racial community on Tuesday night
amid claims that an Asian girl was "touched" by the Hungarians.

The rival gangs clashed in Spen Valley Road and one resident said:
"The Hungarians just decided to go to war."

A 36-year-old man from Ravensthorpe and a 39-year-old from
Huddersfield suffered slight head injuries and a number of weapons
were recovered by police.

Police described the disturbance as "an isolated incident" but patrols
have been stepped up to reassure local people.

Tuesday’s disturbances mirrored what happened last summer when Iraqis
and Pakistani youths clashed in Ravensthorpe and Savile Town.

Locals said the trouble then was caused by Asian girls being pestered
for sex by the Iraqi Kurds. During a week of tensions, riot police
were called to deal with running battles between rival gangs armed
with baseball bats and other weapons.

One man, a Kurd, was badly beaten and suffered head injuries.

This week’s disturbance has led to fears that violence may escalate
again and Coun Khizar Iqbal, in charge of community safety at Kirklees
Council, said:
"This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and I
will be talking to the police to make sure there is no repeat of what
happened last year."

Coun Iqbal (Con, Dewsbury South) said that the make-up of the
Ravensthorpe community may need to be looked at.

"We have different groups of people coming into Ravensthorpe and the
dispersal scheme is run by national government, not local councils.

"This is a sensitive issue but we often don’t know who is coming in
and from where but it can disrupt settled communities. However we
cannot tolerate this kind of aggravation."

Businessman Vinny Burman, who runs an off-licence shop on the corner
of Spen Valley Road, described what happened on Tuesday and said:
"Some Asian men took offence at what had happened to the girl and
trouble erupted. It went pear-shaped and got hostile.

"A lot of residents were scared but we have had this before involving
Iraqis and Kurds. It goes on all the time. There is a lot of conflict
and this was not as bad as it could have been but then there was a
heavy police presence."

Mr Burman said grown Hungarian men were chasing young Asians with
machetes and knives.
"That’s why it was so bad," he said. "It kept
going quiet and flaring up again. It is at night when it is worst.

"People have been coming into the shop asking whether they are safe.
They don’t know how to take this. They expect the worst."

Throughout Tuesday evening police mounted high visibility patrols.

Chief Insp Jon Carter, Dewsbury’s police commander, said:
"We are
working closely with the community in Ravensthorpe to find out just
what happened.

"Clearly, when we get reports of large groups of people we take
positive action as this can cause fear and intimidation for members of
the community.

Pertinent Links:

'War' on the streets

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