The last couple of nights have seen violence on the streets of Lozells reminiscent of the Handsworth riots 20-years ago when black resentment at the Asian community boiled over and saw shops smashed-up and looted.
The violence 20 years ago was due to a black man being stopped and searched, but the current troubles centre on an allegation that a 14-year-old Jamaican asylum seeker was gang-raped by up to 19 Asian men after being found shoplifting in a store. The problem is there is no evidence of this actually happening. For a start no crime has been reported (apparently because the girl is frightened of being deported due to her immigration status). The only thing I have seen coming close to backing this event up is an apparent family of the friend speaking to a local reporter and claiming that the girl is in no fit state to go to the police. However, the police have since forensically examined the scene of the alleged assault and found nothing.
Any allegation of rape must be taken seriously of course but in this case it appears to be an attempt by pirate radio stations to increase their audience figures. Unfortunately in the process many people have been hurt and two have been killed. The allegation now seems to be irrelevant as idiots on both sides start harping on about alleged injustices that have taken place over the years. There is no doubt however that there is significant segregation and grievances between the communities and hopefully these event will be a kick up the backside for someone to address them.
Interestingly enough, despite all the violence the attendances at City Hospital's A&E department were significantly down over the weekend. Clearly people in the area are being a bit more careful at the moment.
They may have to continue for a few more days although hopefully this won't be the case.
Update 1: The Kaiser Chiefs were playing in Birmingham on Saturday night. They certainly did predict a riot.
Update2: It's alright; David Cameron's now in the city.