Leicester Riots: 47 Arrests as MP calls for calm

Leicester Police said that groups of young men began an unplanned protest on Saturday evening and continued into Sunday morning. Community and religious leaders are blaming social media for the spread of the unrest

The local MP for the Leicester area Claudia Webbe MP asked everyone to go home and strengthen dialogue to repair community relations.

Why is there unrest in the city?
India beat Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament on August 28 and had Player of the Match Hardik Pandya score 33. The Guardian report said a group of men were filmed marching through Leicester’s Green Lane Road area on September 17th, throwing glass bottles, and chanting “Jai Shri Ram” from some distance away.

England has famously seen rioting and violence following football matches. In July 2021, fans without tickets stormed Wembley. India-Pakistan cricket matches are often tense affairs, and violence among expat communities of Hindus and Muslims is unusual. However, the violence on Saturday night was unusual because people needed to talk to each other to remove grievances.

A BBC Reporter spoke to Sanjiv Patel, who the report said represents Hindu and Jain temples across Leicester, as expressing deep sadness and shock over the disorder on Saturday night. People needed to talk to each other to remove grievances, he said.

Mr Patel said that the city has lived in harmony for many decades, but that violence was not the way to solve issues. Recently, the Guardian reported that eight of the 18 people arrested after violence between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester over the weekend came from outside the county.

The past weekend saw a standoff between groups of Muslim and Hindu men and the police, and a demonstration on Sunday. Videos of flags being burned have aggravated the situation.
Dharmesh Lakhani, who represents Hindu temples across Leicester, said the burning of one flag outside the Shivalaya temple was unacceptable and urged for calm and dialogue on both sides.

Several arrests have been made and a large number of people searched under section 60 stop-and-search powers, police said. Hundreds of men wearing masks and balaclavas chanting “Jai Shri Ram” in an anti-Muslim protest in India, according to eyewitnesses and videos circulating on social media.

Yasmin Surti a cummunity worker that has worked in the Leicester area for 30 years said questions needed to be asked about why the police allowed the group to march through Leicester.

Police have been holding back Muslim protesters from marching along Belgrave Road in Leicester on Sunday. Gurharpal Singh Emeritus Professor of Sikh and Punjab Studies, said
there is an underlying divide. He said, “Leicester was a model of multiculturalism, but there was an underlying divide. These tensions which have risen are now, I think, part of broader social change that is occurring within the city,” adding there may be an “..influence of homeland politics, you know, the mobilisation of the diaspora by the BJP [Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party].”