Man arrested after protest at Hindu temple in Birmingham

A protest outside a temple in Birmingham on the evening of September 20, involving fireworks targeted at police officers, has resulted in a man’s arrest and visible police presence being deployed in the area.

Videos of the protest outside Durga Bhawan temple on Spon Lane in Smethwick area of the West Midlands city were circulating on social media, showing groups of masked men shouting and hurling items.

“Following a protest gathering in Smethwick last night (20 September), there was some minor disorder and one person was arrested,” West Midlands Police said in a statement.

“We had a pre-planned police presence near the temple in Spon Lane where fireworks and missiles were thrown towards some of our officers. Thankfully no-one was injured,” the police said, adding that it is also looking into reports of a “small number” of cars being damaged.

The 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife remains in custody for questioning.

“We are continuing to provide a visible police presence, working closely with faith leaders and partners across the community to provide reassurance. We will continue to monitor the situation locally and across the region,” the police said.

The protest was reportedly called by local Muslim groups against a planned visit of a Hindu activist from India to the temple in Birmingham, which police had announced earlier on Tuesday had been cancelled. 

“We understand this (protest) is in relation to concerns around a speaker at the temple in Spon Lane, but we're informed the event has been cancelled and this person is not staying in the UK,” local Sandwell Police posted on Twitter.

The clashes in Birmingham follow “serious disorder” between Hindu and Muslim groups in the eastern England city of Leicester in the wake of an India-Pakistan cricket match at the end of last month.

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