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THE WORLD

Dozens Held in English Racial Strife

Britain: Rumor of march by rightists apparently sets off crowd. Bricks are thrown at police.

July 16, 2001|From Reuters

STOKE-ON-TRENT, England — Police arrested nearly 50 people, 31 of them whites, in this Midlands town Sunday after another round of racial violence hit inner-city Britain.

A police spokeswoman said the unrest may have been sparked by a rumor that members of the ultra-rightist British National Party planned to march through the city.

"A group of more than 100 Asian men gathered in Waterloo Road in Cobridge and a group of police was sent to deal with the crowd," she said. "Part of the crowd started throwing missiles, including bricks and broken paving slabs."

The spokeswoman said that no one was injured and that no march by the British National Party took place, "but certainly rumor was rife in the Asian community." The violence was "dealt with fairly quickly and the crowd dispersed within 20 minutes or so," she said.

There was also an attack on a car driven by an ethnic Asian by a group of white youths and reports of a burglary at a mosque where many Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants and their children worship.

A week ago more than 200 police officers were injured in the city of Bradford as they battled 1,000 ethnic Asian youths who rioted after members of the white-supremacist National Front arrived for a banned parade.

Once famous for its pottery, Stoke-on-Trent lies 160 miles northwest of London and has a population of 254,400.

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