London, Sep 19 : Large-scale disorder broke out in Leicester amid tensions involving mainly young men from sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities, with police and community leaders calling for calm, the media reported.
Police said two arrests had been made, and that the trouble flared up after “an unplanned protest” on Saturday night, reports the BBC.
Saturday’s incident is the latest of several incidents, including violence after an India and Pakistan cricket match on August 28.
A significant police operation will remain in the area in the coming days.
Suleman Nagdi, of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations told the BBC: “What we have seen on the streets is very alarming. There have been problems in the community since the India and Pakistan cricket match and while that game often sparks gatherings they have not in the past turned this ugly.
“We need calm, the disorder has to stop and it has to stop now. There are some very dissatisfied young men who have been causing havoc.
“We need to get the message out that this must end and try to do this through parents and grandparents talking to their sons.”
Sanjiv Patel, who represents Hindu and Jain temples across Leicester, said he was deeply saddened and shocked by Saturday night’s disorder.
“We have lived in harmony in the city for many decades but over the past few weeks it is clear there are things that need to be discussed around the table to get out what people are unhappy about,” the BBC quoted Patel as saying.
“Resorting to violence is not the way to deal with this.
“We are horrified and deplore what was going on (yesterday) and across the last two weeks. Across the Hindu and Jain community and with our Muslim brothers and sisters and leaders we are consistently saying ‘calm minds, calm heads’,” he said, but also warned people to be wary of disinformation on social media.
“Violence is not a solution to anything. This has to be a time for peace, calm and engagement.”
Police said one man was detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and another on suspicion of possession of a bladed article.
They remain in police custody.
In response to the violence, Leicester city mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I don’t think anyone saw the confrontation (on Saturday) as a likely outcome and police had been given reassurance things were calming down a lot.
“It’s mostly young men in their late teens and early 20s and I have heard suggestions people have come in (to the city) from outside looking for an opportunity to have a set-to.
“It’s very worrying for people in the areas where this has happened.”
He added that it was important community leaders continued to try to de-escalate the situation but he acknowledged it was a challenge to get through to young people, the BBC reported.
On Sunday, police said the situation was calming and “under control”, and large number of searches had been carried out.