Managers of community centre caught up in mass brawl apologise for ‘damage to image of Leeds’

The Bangladeshi Community Centre was badly damaged in the incident. Picture: 'Andrew McCaren/Ross Parry
The Bangladeshi Community Centre was badly damaged in the incident. Picture: 'Andrew McCaren/Ross Parry
Share this article
Have your say

Managers of a council-owned community centre have issued an apology to the people of Leeds over “extreme violence” at an annual meeting.

Dozens of people, some armed with knives and machetes, were involved in a mass brawl at the Bangladeshi Community Centre on Roundhay Road in Harehills on Saturday.

Video footage of the incident shared online has been viewed by tens of thousands of people globally.

In a statement the centre’s board blamed a “small minority” for attempting to “disrupt with violent means the annual general meeting”.

They said: “The Bangladesh Centre Leeds (BCL) management strongly condemn a minority of 20 to 25 people who instigated extreme violence, resulting in criminal damage to the BCL building and a number of people sustaining injuries.”

They added: “We apologise to the residents of Leeds for the damage caused to the image of our city by this incident.”

The incident followed long-running tensions over how the centre is run, with members broadly divided into two rival groups.

Police were already at the centre before the violence flared, but officers were themselves attacked when they tried to intervene. Thirteen arrests have already been made, with more expected.

A vote to elect directors scheduled for Wednesday was postponed following discussions with Leeds City Council.

The management statement said: “We are keen to ensure the next rescheduled election will be held in a fair and peaceful manner.”

In reference to Saturday’s incident, the statement added: “I am delighted to announce after the cessation of the violence, the business of the AGM was successfully completed.”

Kathy Grogan founded STOP (Start Treating Others Positively) nearly 30 years ago.

Appeal as 'essential' Leeds domestic abuse service loses premises