Leicester's 'mob attacks' condemned as MP calls for end of city's 'dark episode'

Leicester was the scene of 47 arrests over the weekend after tense stand-offs on the city's streets

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The city has seen no repeat of the scenes from Saturday and Sunday which led to 47 arrests, with Leicestershire Police saying on Tuesday there were “no reports of disorder” overnight.

Some of those detained after trouble in the city’s east were from Birmingham, according to the force, which also said 25 of its officers and a police dog were injured.

Amos Noronha, 20, of Illingworth Road, Leicester, was jailed for 10 months after admitting possession of an offensive weapon in connection with the trouble.

Residents in Leicester, famed for its diversity, have been shocked by images of groups of men, mainly masked or hooded and involving members of the Hindu and Muslim communities, in tense confrontations and stand-offs on the city’s streets.

Scenes of violence in Leicester over the weekend
Scenes of violence in Leicester over the weekend
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South

Across the community there have been repeated calls for restraint following the weekend, most recently from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which said “hatred of any kind has no place in our society”.

The collective leadership of many of the main Hindu and Jain temples have also appealed to all “for calm in the city”.

Leicester’s troubles have also taken on an international dimension. The High Commission of India and, on Tuesday, the Pakistan High Commission have both issued statements, condemning violence against the Hindu and Muslim communities, respectively.

On Monday, the MCB also hit out at what it called “the targeting of Muslim communities in Leicester by far-right Hindutva groups”, “mob-attacks on Muslims” and vandalism of homes and businesses “in recent months”.

However, the city’s Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO), while urging calm, also called for care in the language used and the dangers in ascribing the trouble to one group or another.

The FMO strongly cautioned against using terms “like Hindutva”, which was “strictly related to this fascist extreme minority” because “such terms can demonise an entire community unfairly”.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, called the recent troubles a “dark episode” in a city where he and residents “rightly pride ourselves on celebrating our diversity”.

He said: “Attempts to sow division including by those with extremist views will fail and are totally condemned across Leicester.

“We utterly condemn violent incidents on our streets; marches with provocative slogans inciting hate; attacks on places on worship, symbols or religion.

“It has always been the case – re-confirmed from my conversations across communities – that the vast majority of Leicester’s Hindu and Muslim communities are law abiding and continue to enjoy long-standing good relations.

“These strengths will help us through this dark episode.”