Poll on hold after fight at Leeds community centre

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Elections that were due to take place at a troubled council-owned community centre have been postponed as investigations continue into a huge brawl.

Members of the Bangladeshi Community Centre, in Roundhay Road, Harehills, were due to vote for a new committee today.

But Leeds City Council has stepped in to put the poll on ice after a mass disturbance on Saturday.

Thirteen people were arrested after several were injured as rival groups clashed during an annual meeting.

A council spokesman said the election had been deferred to allow the council to work with the board of the Bangladeshi Centre “and all relevant parties” to “determine a positive way forward”.

He added: “The election will now take place after the period of Ramadan, and we would appeal to all parties to remain calm and work with us to bring about a peaceful resolution.”

Weapons including knives, machetes and wrenches were allegedly used in Saturday’s incident as trouble flared in an ongoing row over how the centre is run. Police are in the process of examining video footage and have said they expect to make further arrests.

It is understood that they were planning a significant presence at the centre today if the elections had gone ahead.

Director Adul Abedin was one of those injured in the disturbance.

He said: “I’m really relieved this will be looked into properly. There is still some concern and unrest in the community.”

He said the election should not take place until a full inquiry had been carried out.

Gipton and Harehills councillor Arif Hussain said: “The bottom line is the community need to work together to make sure this election can happen peacefully.”

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