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Race Riot: Chaos in Oldham, England

By codemonkey_uk in News
Thu May 31, 2001 at 09:56:20 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Following reports earlier in the month that Asian youths are turning parts of Oldham into no-go zones for whites, the area, just north of Manchester, was shocked by violence Saturday night as rioting youths fought police in pitched battles, throwing bricks and petrol bombs, in scenes reminiscent of a war zone, which, after a calm day, continued the following evening, with a fresh round of violence.


Yesterday also saw sporadic violence. For many people in rural England this extreme tension came as a shock. But this kind of violence is not new to British streets.

In an allegedly unrelated incident white and Asian youths clashed in Buckinghamshire.

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o Asian youths are turning parts of Oldham into no-go zones for whites
o shocked by violence
o rioting youths fought police
o scenes reminiscent of a war zone
o continued the following evening
o fresh round of violence
o sporadic violence
o this kind of violence is not new to British streets
o white and Asian youths clashed in Buckinghamshire
o Also by codemonkey_uk


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Race Riot: Chaos in Oldham, England | 50 comments (38 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
extremely irresponsible (3.25 / 8) (#3)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:48:50 AM EST

I'm sure it was unintentional that the author has left out the facts that racial tension has been systematically stirred up in Oldham over the last two weeks by white neo-Nazi parties marching through Asian neighbourhoods (against police advice), or that the current race riots were sparked off by the firebombing of Asian houses. However, as it stands, the article paints a picture of Asians unilaterally "imposing no-go areas" and then randomly rioting for no reason, which is an extremely unfair and irresponsible way to portray the situation. So as it stands, I can't vote for this article. NB that this is not the typical k5 "revise and resubmit" post; I'm voting -1 simply because I think that this article is dangerously misleading.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Umm... (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:55:29 AM EST

The article doesn't actually mention who was rioting. You have to follow the links (and hopefully get the full picture).

I was under the impression that the riot started with a National Front demo, and then rolled on from there...

Over all the media has been very sketchy about "responsability" for the whole event...
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

this objection now withdrawn (none / 0) (#11)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 29, 2001 at 12:18:14 PM EST

... as a more balanced link has been posted.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Poverty is the main cause of this (3.85 / 7) (#6)
by nobbystyles on Tue May 29, 2001 at 10:53:48 AM EST

I leave in a predominately asian area in London and there is undoubtedly racial tension under the surface, it doesn't compare to the situation in Oldham. Is this because Londoners are more tolerant and the Metropolitan police are more community focused?

Maybe but the prime reason is that the area I live in is not an unemployment blackspot like Oldham as in the locality there is Heathrow Airport, industrial estates and you're in commuting distance to central London. Thus people on the whole have money and are not so worried about one community getting more than another. Also you can gain status legitimately rather than being part of gang...

Outside influences... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue May 29, 2001 at 12:24:57 PM EST

As far as I could gather "outside infulences" bear a significant burden of blame. Apparently National Front and other assorted rightwing / neo-nazi troublemakers have been comming into Oldham, stiring up trouble, and getting the hell out of dodge as soon as the shit hits the fans.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
A good article (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:26:54 AM EST

Here is an important link I missed in my write up: 'Evil racists' blamed for Oldham violence.

I should have mentioned NF and BNP stiring up trouble in my write up, but was in a hurry, and didn't want to try to explain what they where to the US contingent. Sorry.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell

What do they mean, "Asian" (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by Blarney on Tue May 29, 2001 at 11:57:10 AM EST

I like the way that, in an effort to be politically correct, the articles linked to do not give the slightest bit of information as to the ancestry of the "Asian" rioters. I'm guessing that they were of Pakistani or Indian ancestry - but they could be Chinese, or Russian, or Thai, or any of the many countries that are in Asia.

On one hand, I can appreciate that the article authors don't want to further inflame tensions by actually giving races of the combatants, tempting them towards even more racial outrage - on the other hand, somebody who hasn't been to Britian, like me, has no idea at all who is actually fighting.

Besides, SHOULD I go to Britian, I'd really like to know which people hate my guts due to racial prejudice.

Am I a racist for asking this question?

At a guess. (none / 0) (#13)
by ambrosen on Tue May 29, 2001 at 12:27:53 PM EST

Besides, SHOULD I go to Britian, I'd really like to know which people hate my guts due to racial prejudice.

Am I a racist for asking this question?

The people who'll hate your guts due to prejudice will be the people who are prejudiced against those who are wealthy enough to go on holidays and then gawk at the people in deprived areas. This is mild racial tension exacerbated by poverty, and all seeded by the far right white racists, if my experiences having grown up in a multi racial English society are anything to go by. It's pretty homogeneous where I am now, so I'm out of touch.

Yes, and you are somewhat of a racist for asking, because there are only some people rioting, in one area (well, codemonkey_uk names 2 areas, but...), so assuming that all people of one ethnic grouping in Britain are on the edge of unprovoked racial attacks is a touch of an unwarranted generalisation.

And the term Asian in Britain generally means people whose ancestors (up to 2 or 3 generations back) from Pakistan or Bangladesh. It's confusing when the general US use means people of Chinese origin.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]

Asian = ... (none / 0) (#21)
by pallex on Tue May 29, 2001 at 02:02:32 PM EST

"And the term Asian in Britain generally means people whose ancestors (up to 2 or 3 generations back) from Pakistan or Bangladesh"

Add to that:

India (including Sri Lanka) - just about always.
China (sometimes)
Thailand (sometimes)
Japan (sometimes)

and probably about another 30 countries. But the main `asian` population comes originally from India/Pakistan.

[ Parent ]
I stand by that. (none / 0) (#31)
by ambrosen on Wed May 30, 2001 at 04:52:41 AM EST

In general, if someone is referred to as Asian in Britain, then it means they are of Bangladeshi or Pakistani descent. Certainly in provincial Britain, anyway. I agree that people from the other countries are Asian, but that isn't necessarily or even commonly how their ethnic status will be referred to. I find that it is only Muslims from the Indian subcontinent who are referred to as Asian in Britain. But anyway...

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
interesting... (none / 0) (#48)
by darthaya on Sat Jun 02, 2001 at 11:53:35 AM EST

While in US, "asian" is often refered to south-east asian, namely Chinese, korean, japanese, thai, vietnamese..., or "Oriental"s.

[ Parent ]
"asians" (none / 0) (#27)
by Delirium on Tue May 29, 2001 at 04:39:38 PM EST

And the term Asian in Britain generally means people whose ancestors (up to 2 or 3 generations back) from Pakistan or Bangladesh. It's confusing when the general US use means people of Chinese origin.

Hmm, interesting. I know quite a few Indians and a few Pakistanis in the US, and none of them refer to themselves as "Asians." They just refer to themselves by their particular country of origin, or occasionally by religion (i.e. the Indians sometimes call themselves Hindus). On the other hand, many Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese refer to themselves as "Asians." The rest of us in the US generally refer to them as such as well, because "oriental" used to be the common term for people from that part of Asia, but apparently the term is offensive to some of them, so we use "Asian" instead, since that term doesn't appear to offend anyone.

[ Parent ]

"Asian" and "European" (none / 0) (#50)
by amanset on Sat Jun 02, 2001 at 04:23:16 PM EST

If you think abotu it, Europe is very much the same. I am British. I never, ever, refer to myself as "European". Using blanket terms such as "European" and "Asian" is often down to havign a lack of understanding of the area.

[ Parent ]
Russian? (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by darthaya on Tue May 29, 2001 at 12:44:04 PM EST

Russia is an european country(Because Moscow is in europe continent).

I think he meant "oriental".


[ Parent ]

Asian in Britain (none / 0) (#35)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed May 30, 2001 at 07:40:22 AM EST

Seems to refer to Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people.

It is a completely innacurate term but people in the UK understand its meaning.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Asian in Britain (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by odaiwai on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 02:44:41 AM EST

Here in Hong Kong, the phrase 'South Asian' is used to refer to people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.
'South East Asian' is used for Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese, etc and 'East Asian' for Chinese and Japanese.
Of course, there are some overlaps in this geographical spread.

In Britain, if the phrase 'Asian youth' or similar was used on the news, it invariably meant South Asian people. Chinese, Japanese, etc would be mentioned by nationality.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
East Asian == Oriental (in Britain) (none / 0) (#49)
by amanset on Sat Jun 02, 2001 at 04:19:57 PM EST

What you would call "East Asian" the British would call "Oriental". The average Brit probably doesn't remember that "The Orient" is in Asia.

[ Parent ]
According to the BBC... (2.50 / 2) (#17)
by jd on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:24:03 PM EST

The riots are believed to have been triggered by hostile acts from the National Front (a bunch of fascist, totalitarian sociopaths.)

The NF leader was interviewed. I can't remember the exact quote, but it was essentially something along the lines of "us? never! There is absolutely no evidence that extreme provocation and murder could possibly get people angry!"

(One of the local residents had been murdered by a gang of whites, and it's entirely within the bounds of possibility that the gang were NF'ers)

Bizzare (2.66 / 3) (#18)
by delmoi on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:34:23 PM EST

This has got to be, one of the most bizarre news stories I've ever heard. I mean, when you think of violent ethnic groups, the last you'd think of would be Asians. And I would never expect this stuff to be going down in England of all places.

Crimey!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Asian Stereotypes (none / 0) (#23)
by Bad Harmony on Tue May 29, 2001 at 03:21:19 PM EST

I don't know about that. A friend of mine used to work in Pakistan. He liked the country and its people, but the political instability and the frequent, and bloody, riots scared the hell out of him He always kept enough cash on hand to get out of the country on short notice.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Pakastanis (none / 0) (#28)
by Tatarigami on Tue May 29, 2001 at 04:44:04 PM EST

I'm friendly with a family of Pakistani moslems, and on the whole, they go against every violent stereotype you've heard. Very nice people. A little stand-offish, but pleasant to be around.

...but on the other hand, their home is decorated with swords. Lots and lots of swords...

:o)


[ Parent ]
True enough (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by Mad Hughagi on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 03:52:38 PM EST

My roomate is from Pakistan (and Muslim). He is probably the least violent and most open-minded person I know. His family is very kind to me as well, I have a great deal of respect for them and their culture.

I think the media and popular culture's portrayal of the middle east and subcontinent in general has done quite a bit to stereotype these people in western society.

I usually loathe hearing about "such and such ethnic people" doing something out of hand. No one ever seems to have anything good to say about people who are unlike them. In my physics department there are people from all different walks of life, from all different ethnicities who are very civil and openminded with one another. Oh well, I guess people would rather base their stereotypes on sensationalist events than normal everyday relationships.


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

Hrm (none / 0) (#30)
by delmoi on Wed May 30, 2001 at 02:12:08 AM EST

Well, actualy I usualy think of "asians" as orientals, rather then people from the India, Packastan Area.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
violence and asians (none / 0) (#26)
by Delirium on Tue May 29, 2001 at 04:27:17 PM EST

It depends on the Asians. Where I live (Houston), there's a split view of Asians (based on stereotypes, but largely true). One the one hand, many, especially the new immigrants, tend to be hard-working and generally pleasant people; certainly not violent. You find the adults working on fishing boats in lower-class areas or working as engineers in affluent areas. The kids tend to be at the top of their classes.

On the other hand, there's groups of Asian youth, typically the 2nd or 3rd-generation ones, who form violent gangs, and in some areas of Houston often get into confrontations with the Mexican gangs. These are the kids who drive around in their souped-up Hondas with all sorts of rims and whatnot that they've stolen from other cars, and generally cause problems.

And of course there are plenty of asians, just like any other group, that don't fit into either of these categories.

[ Parent ]

Not so bizarre (none / 0) (#42)
by odaiwai on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 02:53:21 AM EST

A report into the Metropolitan Police (London) after a notorious Racially Motivated killing some years back found that there was a prevailing 'institutional racist' culture in the police force. There are a lot of extreme right-wing anti-immigration groups like the British National Party and the National Front. These groups have strong ties to other European Far Right organisations. Immigration policy plays quite an important role at Election time.
There are also very few Asian representatives in the Houses of Parliament and many non-english communities feel under-represented.
It's not just people with different skin who get the wrong end of it: English racism towards Ireland is so ingrained in the culture that you'll find old grannies saying things like "Oh that sounds a bit Irish" when they mean stupid without realising what they're saying.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
UK still hostile (3.16 / 6) (#19)
by cezarg on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:35:03 PM EST

Unfortunately the UK society is still pretty hostile towards foreigners. It is not just a racial issue. I lived there for over seven years and despite being a white male I came across hatred and prejudice. I blame the media. The Auntie (BBC) is not nearly as objective as they would make us believe. I've seen many, many reports about the British asylum policy that were presented in specific ways which put asylum seekers in a bad light. Some news reports even quoted incorrect or outdated figures to make their lies sound more credible. Reports about illegal immigration are routinely exaggerated and usually biased against certain nationalities. Unfortunately it's all done in a very subtle and a very convincing way but many members of the public take the BBC as a reliable and objective source.

The situation is bothersome because the UK currently enjoys one of the lowest unemployment figures in the world. One would have thought that wealth and tolerance tend to go hand in hand. Unfortunately that's hardly ever true. The Austrian society proved this by voting Heider (an extreme right politician) into the office while in a very buoyant economic situation.

What's the answer then? The only way to root out racial prejudice is through social education. I'm not talking about schools here although they have a role in that too. I'm talking more about a greater community involvement by peoples of different cultures. Local community involvement helps smooth out all those rough points and simply allows people to get to know other cultures within their common society. Obviously this effort needs to be mutual. White people must be willing to get to know Asians and Asian communities must be prepared to at least partially open up to the European culture. All humans fear the unknown. Once we get to know one another however, those fears tend to disappear. There are good and bad apples in all (racial) bunches. Assuming that one race bears more responsibility for crime rates than others is terrible prejudice that could lead to a social unrest if pushed to the extreme.

I`m a stalker! (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by pallex on Tue May 29, 2001 at 01:58:05 PM EST

No, i`m not really, but i checked out your previous comments to discover where you`re from, and where in the uk you`ve been! Scotland, eh? :)

I`m sure you would have had a much better time down south (ie London, or the major cities in England). I have friends from various parts of the world, and most of them feel much more comfortable being around more metropolitan areas, for obvious reasons (people there are *generally* better educated, more tolerant, more likely to be foreign/have foreign friends, be more broad minded (thanks to all the culture other races have brought in) etc.)

Almost without exception they dislike Wales, and wouldnt like to spend an evening in a pub in some godforsaken small town somewhere.

And i`m thinking that this is likely to be repeated in most countries of the world - foreigners (and gays, and disabled people, and women-with-a-career) accepted in cities, but subjected to retarded attitudes from (many/a lot/most of) the people elsewhere.

"I've seen many, many reports about the British asylum policy that were presented in specific ways which put asylum seekers in a bad light."

I`d be interested to see an example of this (from the BBC - not interested if you`ve got a Daily Mail headline there to hand!)

To me they seem very careful what they say. Dont forget - whatever your opinions on asylum, borders, welfare, whatever - *most* people coming here and applying for asylum FAIL the tests and have their claims rejected.



[ Parent ]
Scotland indeed (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by cezarg on Tue May 29, 2001 at 03:20:02 PM EST

But I lived in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. That's basically as metropolitan as it gets in Scotland. Having said that I live in a small city in Canada now and it seems a lot more tolerant towards immigrants than Britain ever did. Maybe that's just first impressions though... Time will tell.

The BBC had a report on Polish illegal immigrants hunting waiting jobs in London. The report concentrated on a small minority group who by the way, were impoverished in Poland due to their lack of marketable skills and hence troubles finding employment back home. The report didn't even bother to mention a much larger group of Polish expats who live quite legally in the UK often holding very responsible positions within British companies. Many of those succesful migrants were headhunted for those jobs in the first place!

From watching that programme a British citizen could easily arrive at two conclusions: Number one is that Poland is in a severe economical situation that forces its citizens to earn their wages elswhere in order to survive. Number two is that most Poles are so impoverished that they will do just about anything to be blessed with the opportunity to live and work in London. Needless to say that neither point is true or applies to a significant portion of the Polish society.

I can't remember the exact date when the programme was aired but it was on BBC2 around a year ago. BBC is notorious for showing such unbalanced reports particularly when it relates to home affairs.

Dont forget - whatever your opinions on asylum, borders, welfare, whatever - *most* people coming here and applying for asylum FAIL the tests and have their claims rejected.

My point exactly.

[ Parent ]

Illegal immigrants. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by ambrosen on Wed May 30, 2001 at 05:21:35 AM EST

I wonder what kind of impression you'd have got from a documentary which followed the presumably illegal immigrant who served me in the pub on Sunday night. She was American.

I ask this question genuinely out of interest, and I don't have figures, but I guess that most people working without work permits in this country are from wealthy English speaking countries.

So, if the documentary had followed, say, Aussie backpackers looking for bar work in London or Edinburgh, how would the presentation have been different such that you would have come away with the impression that this was a choice that some Australians like to make about how to get the most out of their lives, rather than the idea that this is what Australians were reduced to because of the state of their country, and they should be grateful of it?

And I'm not sure if the BBC is notorious for this kind of thing, is it not that every TV station does this. The BBC has some remaining quality programs such as Newsnight, and From Our Own Correspondent but apart from that, it's more or less just another media network, albeit with a bit of a public service remit.

And I agree with you about the issue being that most asylum seekers having their claims rejected, and that being the problem, although I think some avenues for legal immigration would reduce the pressure, there are still some people who are not able to go home who are also not permitted to act as full residents of the UK.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]

Well, scotland was not like that for me... (none / 0) (#45)
by neuneu2K on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 09:37:23 AM EST

Well, it is my personal experience, but I found rural Scotland very friendly.

Of course the fact that i am French (we are historical allies... against the english !) may have helped...


- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]

Not the same issue (4.50 / 4) (#33)
by ambrosen on Wed May 30, 2001 at 05:46:31 AM EST

Unfortunately the UK society is still pretty hostile towards foreigners. It is not just a racial issue. I lived there for over seven years and despite being a white male I came across hatred and prejudice.
Surely the racial issue is completely orthogonal to the issue of being welcoming to foreigners. I hate the idea of being hostile to foreigners, and I hate the idea of racism, but they are different things in this case. Because much of the population of the UK has no ancestry from outside the country, there is a much sharper line between resident and foreigner because of the lack of familiarity with the process of people coming over and then integrating into society (the majority of non white British people outside London came over in the 60s in mass immigrations from Commonwealth countries).

This means that the behaviour towards temporarily resident foreigners will not correlate with levels of racial tension amongst permanent residents of the country.

It goes without saying that I regret that you were made to feel unwelcome here, and if it's any consolation, as an Englishman in Edinburgh, I occasionally get some hostility, too.

Ambrose

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]

Indians an pakastani (1.63 / 11) (#36)
by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed May 30, 2001 at 06:56:04 PM EST

Damn, yo. I figured diss shit be whack, till I found out they be talkin 'bout Sub continentals ova their, you know Pakistani, Indian, Shre-lankaz. Not dem China boyz. Now maybe this just me bein' Ignorant, but I see them Chinese as peaceful and friendly, hard workin'. Them Pakistani just be normal people, just as prone to dis shit as the rest of us.

Now, I aint sayin' no race riots is a good thing, but my head just be trippen thinking bout Orientals gettin all stressed.




--- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
stereotyping is dogging. (1.33 / 3) (#46)
by goosedaemon on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 10:57:33 AM EST

That just be stereotyping. Chinese'n get pissed easy's anyone else. Maybe you just thinking bout that eastern mystic... crap.

or something.



[ Parent ]
the biasness of this article is appaling..... (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by sandeephundal on Thu May 31, 2001 at 09:24:58 AM EST

the way this is presented, is like us asians (which in the uk usually refers to indians, pakistanis, bangladeshis and sri lankans etc.) have started a race riot.

try to understand that racial tension has been around in areas like this for ages because of various reason:

poverty - the people have nothing better to do then sit around in gangs and act "hard".

police apathy - at the abuse asians have been getting in such areas. the police is notorious in many parts of the country, including london, to not pay that much attention to crime against ethnic minorities.

the national front, who at the their homepage guestbook have a good amount of crap posted against all ethnic minorities in general.

in fact the national front have been the main catalyst for thse riots because the asians in the area have generally had enough of being victimised by drunk white groups throwing bottles at them.

i don't like riots, but this was waiting to happen.

/sunny
http://www.wde.org/me/

You see bias because you want to see bias (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu May 31, 2001 at 11:25:28 AM EST

As I already said to someone else in this comment, the bias, I'm sad to say, is in your reading.

At no point in the article does it say who was rioting, or why. You have to follow the links for that, and hopefully, get a balanced picture.

Oh, and BTW, "biasness" isn't a real word.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

what exactly is the "national front"? (none / 0) (#40)
by dnuoforp on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 12:00:01 AM EST

i'm in the US, and i don't know what this "national front" is. very cryptic name.

National Front (none / 0) (#43)
by odaiwai on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 03:00:17 AM EST

The NF is a far right organisation, with a platform of anti-immigration and anti-immigrant policies.

Their homepage is here.

Basically racist thugs.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]

NF (none / 0) (#44)
by pallex on Fri Jun 01, 2001 at 06:54:32 AM EST

defunct right wing group. Sort of imploded/splintered in the early 80`s i think.

Although sort of still going, it has been more or less replaced by the British National Party, which actually got elected in a part of London for a short while, though they got nothing done, as the other parties generally just left the chambers (in the council) and so, without a quorum, nothing was passed.

You still see plenty of NF graffiti around down-market parts of england. Usually spelt incorrectly.

[ Parent ]
Race Riot: Chaos in Oldham, England | 50 comments (38 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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