Racism did play a part in Wrexam riots.' Labour Peer
LONDON, JUNE 28 (KUNA) - British Police were wrong to say racism played no
part in the Wrexham riots in Wales, an influential Labour peer said Saturday.
Dozens of officers in riot gear were drafted in after a dispute between
Iraqi Kurds and locals flared in to violence in the north Wales town earlier
At least 200 rioters clashed with police as petrol bombs were thrown and a
car set alight on the Caia Park estate last Monday night.
Lord Herman Ouseley, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality,
told the BBC radio despite police claims to the contrary, racism did seem to
have played a part.
It would be wrong for people to be in denial to suggest that race isn't a
factor, that there isn't prejudice, that there weren't hostilities or indeed
hatred,'' the peer said.
While it always takes a small incident it then brings to the surface the
prejudices that exist, particularly as we have seen the way asylum seekers and
refugees have been demonised. And that becomes a factor.''
Lord Ouseley, who produced a report on racial tensions in Bradford after
riots there in 2001, said there was clear evidence of racism in north Wales.
There may not appear to be a history that is obvious, but I think in north
Wales, if you ask anyone from the minority communities, there has been a
pattern of low-level racism, harassment, name-calling,'' he said.
There is evidence to show that exists. Even though it is not something
that has been overtly in the public eye, it has been there.
Where you have got the combination of communities who have grievances as
was just expressed of poor housing, long-term association with criminals,
anti-social drug activity in an area of deprivation, then some of the
resentment can spill over in to hostilities to newcomers.''
Councils must ensure locals knew that newcomers were not being given
preferential treatment, said Lord Ouseley.
Local authorities have a responsibility to communicate,'' he added .
One of the lessons we have learned from the northern towns and the
disputes that occurred there, was that it is a lack of communication which
allows disinformation to spread about other people getting opportunities,
access to resources, preferential treatment because of their colour or their
race compared to those who consider they are long-term residents and they have
an entitlement that has been over-looked.'' (end)
KUNA 281208 Jun 03NNNN