Birmingham & Black Country

Pc and two others hurt in Sikh cultural centre protest

Community centre
Image caption "Significant damage" was caused, police said

A police officer and two other people suffered head injuries during a protest outside a Sikh-run community centre.

About 200 people gathered at the Sikh Cultural Centre in Dudley, West Midlands, to demonstrate over allegations that meat and alcohol were being served on the premises.

Violence erupted at about 1245 BST on Saturday after some of the protesters forced their way into the building.

The three injured people are in a stable condition in hospital.

'Building vandalised'

West Midlands police have not commented on the nature of the injuries but said some protesters were throwing missiles at officers.

A second police officer received minor dental injuries.

A 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of violent disorder was later released on police bail bending further inquiries.

The force said the demonstrators had spent about five hours inside the centre, adding that "significant damage" was caused.

Image caption Demonstrators spent about five hours inside the centre, police said

Ch Insp Deb Doyle said: "What started as a peaceful protest soon turned to violence when a minority of people started throwing missiles at officers and then forced their way inside the centre.

"Once inside they have vandalised the building and refused to leave until the centre managers agreed to ban the supply of meat and alcohol on the premises.

"I would urge those responsible for the violence to hand themselves in to their local police station immediately or face officers arresting them at home in the very near future."

No alcohol or meat is permitted in property belonging to Sikh places of worship.

Image caption Roads around the centre in Swancote Road were closed

Kalvinder Bains, from Gurdwara Guru Nanak Singh Sabha, which is next door to the centre, said the incident was "really a disgrace" and "absolutely appalling".

She said: "They showed no dignity or respect to any of our older Asian Sikh community that have lived here for perhaps 50 years or more.

"What this group is protesting against is that this community centre has parties whereby they serve food and alcohol.

"But a majority of the trustees are saying that at present there is no links between the temple and the community centre and it's a separate organisation."

Roads around the centre in Swancote Road were closed to allow emergency services access to the site.

Police said CCTV footage had been seized from the site.

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