Large-scale disorder broke out in the English city of Leicester on Saturday, in the latest flare-up of tensions between Muslim and Hindu communities following a cricket match between India and Pakistan last month.
Leicestershire Police said that large crowds formed when groups of young men gathered for an unplanned protest.
Two men were arrested after “serious disorder” on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, said a police spokesman.
One of the men was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and the other on suspicion of possession of a bladed article.
“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,” the police said.
Following an Asia Cup cricket match on Aug. 28, additional officers have been on patrol in the area after a number of incidents of disorder.
Police said on Sept. 16 that a total of 27 people had been arrested in relation to the disturbances.
Calls for Calm
In a video filmed at 9 p.m. on Saturday, temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon called for calm.
“There are additional officers en route and dispersal powers and stop search powers have been authorised. Please do not get involved,” he said.
Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, joined the police in calling for calm.
She wrote on Twitter: “This is a time for cool heads. I implore everyone to go home. We can strengthen our dialogue to repair community relations.
“Your family will be worried for your safety, please accept the advice of the police who are trying to defuse and are calling for calm.”
Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said that things got “very nasty indeed” and he was “very worried on behalf of the people who were caught up in it.”
Suleman Nagdi, of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations told the BBC that the incidents were “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,” he said.
“We need to get the message out that this must end and try to do this through parents and grandparents talking to their sons,” he added.
Sanjiv Patel, who represents Hindu and Jain temples in Leicester, said he was shocked by the disorder because the communities had “lived in harmony in the city for many decades.”
“Resorting to violence is not the way to deal with this,” he said.
PA Media contributed to this report.