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…our riots

Five years ago, the northern riots exposed Britain's racial divides. Have things improved?

By Rushanara Ali   May 2006

Five years ago this summer, Britain had its worst riots for a generation. Bradford, Burnley and Oldham went through their own versions of the disturbances that spread across France last year, with the full panoply of burning cars and broken windows, confrontations between white and Asian youth, charging riot police and makeshift barricades.

The immediate official response was harsh—256 people were charged in Bradford alone. Almost all pleaded guilty and dozens of mainly Asian young people were given unusually stiff sentences—an average of over four years for the adults, a year and a half for the juveniles, far more than…

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