Story of a town in turmoil

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
January 31: A police superintendent tells the Oldham Chronicle that six out of 10 victims of racist attacks in the town are white. Gangs of Asian youths prowl the town, committing unprovoked assaults on white people, he says.

February: The Chronicle continues to publish stories of white people being attacked by gangs of Asian youths in the town. In one incident, it says, a white man was bitten by a Rottweiller owned by such a gang.

Saturday, April 21: A 76-year-old war veteran, Walter Chamberlain, is attacked by a group of Asian schoolboys.

April 29: Violence erupts between Stoke City football supporters and local Asian youths before and after a match against Oldham Athletic, after white members of the crowd chant racist remarks.

May 4: Home Secretary Jack Straw bans political marches in Oldham after the National Front plans a rally. Two days later, 500 police are deployed to stop 50 to 100 National Front members from marching through the city. Four protesters are arrested.

May 26 - 29: Three days o rioting. A crowd of about 500 Asian youths fight a running battle with police; rioters torch cars and throw petrol bombs at local buildings. The offices of the Oldham Chronicle are firebombed. Police confront a crowd of 50 white youths who try to storm the mainly Asian Glodwick area. Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, denies claims that his group is deliberately stirring up racial tensions.

June 1: The home of Oldham's Asian deputy mayor, Riaz Ahmad, is petrol-bombed in what is believed to be a racist attack.

June 7: The BNP polls 11,500 votes in Oldham's two constituencies, with Nick Griffin placed third in Oldham West and Royton, winning 16 per cent of the vote.

June 8: Muslim graves in the town's Greenacres Cemetery are found sprayed with graffiti.

June 14: A delegation from Oldham meets new Home Secretary, David Blunkett. All of its members are white.

Town in turmoil: police in full riot gear walk along an Oldham street during the second night of battles between

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