Leicestershire Police call for calm after night of 'serious disorder' in the city

Police at the scene in Leicester. Leicester Media Online
Police at the scene in Leicester Credit: Leicester Media Online

Leicestershire Police officers have called for calm after a night of 'disorder' in the city.

Officers said parts of East Leicester experienced serious disorder on Saturday evening into this morning.

Police said two arrests were made.

Large crowds formed after groups of young men began an unplanned protest, said police.

The force had additional officers in the area who became aware of a large group of men travelling towards Green Lane Road.

Officers attempted to engage with the group and remained with them whilst additional officers were called in.

They sought to keep actions lawful but said "regrettably" the situation led to disorder, according to police.

The force had additional officers in the area Credit: Leicester Media Online

A statement on the force's website reads: "Officers attended in large numbers with a view to keep people safe.

"Dispersal and stop and search powers were authorised to assist officers in restoring calm to the area.

"Under Section 60 stop search powers, a large number of people were searched.

"Several incidents of violence and damage have been reported to the police and are being investigated.

"We are aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester.

"This appears to have taken place while police officers were dealing with public disorder in the area. The incident will be investigated."

Officers said two arrests were made, one man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and one man on suspicion of possession of a bladed article.

They say they remain in police custody.

The website statement reads: "We are continuing to call for dialogue and calm with support from local community leaders. We will not tolerate violence or disorder in our city.

"A significant police operation will remain in the area in the coming days."

A statement has also been issued by leaders of Hindu and Jain temples and community Organisations in Leicester.

The statement reads: "The collective leadership of all Hindu temples and community centres across Leicester is appalled to hear of the unfortunate events that took place this evening in East Leicester.

"We condemn the insensitive and utterly disgraceful acts on the streets of Belgrave and North Evington.

"This is most unacceptable and we are working with the police to ensure that we understand the reasons and triggers behind last night's events.

"We hope those responsible are held to account and all measures taken for offences committed.

"Leaders of the Hindu community are not going to tolerate such acts of aggression that undermines the relationships and unity within this city of Leicester.

"If anyone was involved or knows of others who have been caught up in this, PLEASE STOP, and immediately report it to the police.

"If anyone needs support or would like to discuss any concerns in a safe and confidential manner please call the police on 101 or 999.

"The collective leadership of the undersigned Hindu organisations appeals to all for calm in the city.

"Please let us remember we are in a period of national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

"Let us respect this and honour the observance of her funeral on Monday.

"We must unite in peace and call out those from within the community, who are acting to disturb the peace and harmony. Dialogue, discussion and sitting side by side is what is required at the appropriate time.

"Right now is the time to be in prayer and respect for the Queen, the Royal family and for the country.

"With respect, Hindu temple and community centre leaders from: Jain Centre, Shree Sanatan Mandir, Shree Ram Mandir, Shreejidham Haveli, Hindu Mandir, Geeta Bhavan Mandir, BAPS Swaminaranyan Temple, Vrajdham Haveli, The Swaminarayan Mandir, Jalarama Prarthana Mandir, Shakti Mandir, Radha Krishna Mandir, Brahma Kumari, Gujarat Hindu Association, ISKCON Leicester."

Dr Ather Hussain, Imam in Leicester, said: "I am quite sure and I hope that I am correct in this.

"This is a short-term problem which will be solved quickly and very soon people will realise that there is absolutely no benefit in stirring up hate in our community.

"Aggression and violence never works. For the wonderful residents of Leicester we know very well that love will always prevail.

"That feeling of harmony and unity will always conquer our hearts."

The Muslim Council of Britain has also issued a statement on Twitter calling for calm.

The series of tweets read: "The MCB is deeply concerned at the escalation of communal tensions and ongoing violence in Leicester, culminating in last night’s events.

"We add our voices to those appealing for calm at this time.

"MCB has been liaising with local groups since the start of demonstrations two weeks ago. Tensions and isolated attacks have been ongoing for months.

"Leicester is renowned for its diversity and harmony, of which the Muslim and Hindu communities have always led from the front for over half a century.

"The MCB has been engaging with local faith leaders and will be writing to the police and local elected officials to raise serious concerns about community tensions and the police response.

"MCB urges all to show restraint, calm & help de-escalate tensions, including those coming from out with Leicester."