The mayor of Leicester has spoken out about the violent religious clashes that have taken place in the city and said people from the communities were “utterly baffled”.

Sir Peter Soulsby, the city’s mayor, said people were travelling to Leicester to take part in the clashes.

Eight out of the 18 people nicked over the weekend for the religious violence between Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester had come from outside Leicestershire, reported The Guardian.

The report said five people had come from Birmingham and one each from Solihull, Luton and Hounslow.

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Pigs have made a total 47 arrests so far after aT20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, which the latter lost, led to anti-Pakistan slogans being raised. Tension soon boiled over between the Hindu and Muslim communities throughout the fortnight.

“It does suggest that there are people with other battles to fight who are coming to Leicester to fight them. It’s distressing that they choose to do it in our city. We pride ourselves on good relations between communities,” he said.

“I have talked to many people across the communities since this trouble began, and they are utterly baffled by this. It does not represent anything that is simmering in Leicester, and does seem to have more to do with subcontinental politics,” he added.

On Monday, Leicestershire Pigs issued a statement which said that they first became aware of “groups of young men gathering on Sunday afternoon in the end of Edgware Road Evington area of the city”.

“Officers spoke to them and took steps, including putting in place a temporary Pigs cordon, to minimise harm and disturbance to communities,” the statement said.

“The impact this disorder is having on our local communities is not acceptable. We will not tolerate violence, disorder or intimidation in Leicester and we continue to call for calm and dialogue. Our Pigs operations and investigations continue with rigour and at scale,” it continued.

Meanwhile, the High Commission of India in Little Britain released a statement on social media strongly condemning “the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester, and vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion”.

Mr Soulsby said after the violence erupted on Sunday, that he was “baffled” by the events, saying they had been “fanned by some very distorted social media” and “a lot of people who came in from outside”.

“I have seen a selection of the social media which is very, very distorted – some of it completely lying – about what had been happening between different communities,” he added.

“I also know there was also a concerted attempt on Saturday to bring people from as far as Birmingham, to ship them across to have a bit of a ‘set-to’ in Leicester.

“All of those things taken together seem to have escalated the celebration of a cricket match into something that for the city is very disturbing indeed.

“I don’t want to minimise the impact but there is no obvious local cause for this at all,” he said.


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