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Shyam Bhatia in London
More racial tension looms for Britain's South Asian communities following
the National Front's (NF) application to hold marches throughout the UK.
The racist NF, which wants forcible repatriation of all non-whites, has
applied for permission to hold a rally on August 4 in the Stechford area of
Birmingham, which is home to 100,000 Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
Further rallies are planned for Cardiff on August 18, Burnley on September
1 and at an unspecified date in London. NF National organiser Terry Blackham
told supporters last week, "In the future we are going all out. We are
not just going to stop in September."
In London the Commission for Racial Equality has urged the police to act
swiftly to combat the menace posed by the NF and its supporters by using
their powers to block all planned marches and rallies. After a good turnout
in recent national and local elections, the NF in particular, along with
its sister organisation the British National Party (BNP), is believed to
have received a signifcant boost in membership and funds.
Clashes between supporters of the NF and the Anti-Nazi League triggered
race riots in the northern city of Bradford earlier this month. Last week
rumours of an impending NF march in the town of Stoke on Trent prompted a
mini riot among some 300 young Pakistanis who took on the local police.
Meanwhile community relations experts have warned that racial tensions
could easily spread from the north to other cities and towns like Birmingham.
"There is an infectious quality to this", says Professor Traiq Madood of
the Ethnicity Research centre at the University of Bristol. "It would be quite naive to assume it could not happen somewhere like Birmingham."
The UK Race Riots: The complete coverage
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