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Whites, Asians clash in England

SHARE Whites, Asians clash in England

BRADFORD, England — Some 60 white youths pelted riot police with bricks and bottles and set a car on fire Tuesday, as police confronted white and South Asian gangs in a third night of racial violence in a northern England town.

Fifteen people were arrested after overnight violence in Bradford, the fourth town in the region to be wracked by violence between whites and Asians. No one was reported injured.

Details from a report commissioned by town leaders well before the violence emerged Tuesday with a belated warning that race relations in Bradford were deteriorating dangerously.

The clash between police and the white youths was the largest confrontation of the night. The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that an Asian gang also squared off against police in a predominantly white part of the city after an Asian-owned pizza parlor had its windows smashed.

More than 600 police officers were drafted into Bradford to prevent a repeat of the initial outbreak of violence on Saturday, which left 164 officers injured. The latest clashes were on a much smaller scale than Saturday's.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Hyde said Tuesday that police had moved quickly to quell the latest violence.

"We ask the people of Bradford not to get involved in these incidents," Hyde said.

In the past six weeks, riots have hit Oldham, Burnley and Leeds, which, like Bradford, are industrial cities with large South Asian populations. The four cities are located within 40 miles of each other about 200 miles north of London. The troubles have been widely blamed on agitation by right-wing groups.

The report commissioned by city leaders in the days ahead of the violence warned of a deepening racial divide in Bradford.

Leaked to news organizations before its Thursday release, the report said a struggling local economy had led to whites and Asians bickering over scarce resources, causing a domino effect of increasing segregation in public schools, hesitancy by police to tackle crime across color lines and wealthy whites fleeing the city center for the suburbs.

"There are signs that communities are fragmenting along racial, cultural and faith lines," said the report, written by the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Lord Ouseley.

"The city finds itself in a grip of fear," it added. "There is the fear of challenging wrongdoing because of being labeled racist. There is the fear of confronting the gangs culture, the illegal drugs trade and the growing racial intolerance, harassment and abuse that exists."

Almost one in five people in Bradford — a city of 500,000 — is from Asia or has roots there, mostly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The riots in Bradford erupted Saturday after the Anti-Nazi League staged a demonstration against the anti-immigrant National Front, which planned to parade in the city despite a government ban.

Witnesses said fighting broke out when a group of white men shouted racist epithets at a crowd of several hundred mostly Asian youths taking part in the rally.

At the height of the violence, several hundred youths erected burning barricades, set cars on fire and showered police with bricks, bottles, gasoline bombs and fireworks. Several buildings were torched and looted. Nineteen civilians were treated in hospitals for a range of injuries including stab wounds, head injuries, bruises and cuts.

Police arrested 36 people Saturday and a further 19 people Sunday night when white youths smashed the windows of an Indian restaurant and an Asian-owned gas station on the outskirts of the city.