Posted on July 28, 2004

Multicultural Festival Ends In Punch-Ups

David Sapsted, Telegraph (UK), Jul. 27

A festival to celebrate a city’s multiculturalism ended with rival ethnic groups involved in running street battles.

The East of England Anand Mela festival was organised by the Indian community in Peterborough to demonstrate its culture, music and food. But about 90 Pakistani and Iraqi youths exchanged blows and hurled chairs on Saturday night.

When police broke up the battle, clashes continued in the city centre. Further fights broke out on Sunday. Police brought in reinforcements from other parts of Cambridgeshire and Essex.

Tensions in the city have been running high between the long-established Pakistani community and recent immigrants from Iraq, mostly Kurds.

Jayshree Mehta, the festival organiser, described the trouble as “a scuffle”. She said: “Fireworks were displayed afterwards and it was a lovely day.”