Chaotic footage has emerged of a mass brawl inside a community centre that left six people injured and 13 arrested.
Scores of men shouted, punched each other and threw chairs as a fire alarm sounded yesterday at the Bangladeshi Community Centre in Leeds.
Arif Hussain, who represents the Harehills area for Leeds City Council, said the row broke out during the centre’s AGM between two rival factions who both want to take charge.
He told Mirror Online: “I’m shocked. It’s completely unacceptable.
“There are 802 members and it’s up to them to decide who they want to run the centre, just like for an MP or a councillor.
“It all started a long time ago. There’s one group saying they have one support from the Bangladeshi community and the other group saying ‘we should be running the centre’.
“It’s not great for the community, it’s not great for the area, it’s not great for the city.”
The video begins with scores of men, many wearing traditional Islamic skullcaps, shouting as they grapple with each other and at least two police officers.
Men start throwing chairs across the room while one holds a bar above his head.
Around 20 seconds into the video a uniformed policeman is seen slapping or punching one of the men in the face.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman told Mirror Online: “It’s a slap rather than a punch, and if you examine the image it’s because the man has attempted to grab the officer’s baton. It’s an act of self-defence.”
Dozens more chairs are thrown across the room and more men throw punches at each other before the fire alarm starts sounding.
Despite the bell ringing overhead, the men continue shouting and brandishing chairs as police gather round a pile of thrown chairs to stop them being picked up again.
Bangledeshi Community Centre Fight
Brawl: Chairs were thrown as police made a desperate bid to bring events under control
The officers – with batons drawn – shout ‘stay there now’ as they eventually restore relative calm and guard the pile of chairs.
By the end of the two-minute clip, four officers can be seen as tables lie overturned and paperwork is strewn across the floor.
Several people have shared the video with Islamophobic comments, infuriating Cllr Hussain who said the centre is ‘nothing to do with a mosque’.
The footage was posted online by several people, including an imam who is the founder of the Al-Khair Muslim community foundation.
Cllr Hussain confirmed the footage was shot inside the community centre.
Several police cars were called at 12.30pm yesterday to the scene, where the road was closed off and patrols were stepped up.
West Yorkshire Police arrested 13 people for offences including public order and assault and are appealing for further witnesses.
Six people were also treated for ‘non-life threatening injuries’.
There was no reply today at the community hall in Leeds’ Roundhay Road, which also goes by the name Bangladesh Centre.
Chief Inspector Nik Adams, of Leeds District Police, said: “A small number of neighbourhood PCs and PCSOs supporting a community event have been faced with a violent incident involving large numbers of people during which they themselves have come under attack.
“They have quickly called in further officers to assist and within minutes brought the incident under control.
“Enquiries in to the circumstances of this incident continue and we would urge anyone with information or phone footage to call Leeds District CID via 101 or speak to one of our officers on patrol in the area.
“The local neighbourhood policing team are continuing to work with those at the Bangladeshi Centre and the wider community to prevent further incidents and to provide reassurance.”