POLICE in Birmingham were forced to abandon a stall aimed at recruiting Sikhs into the force – after being confronted by activists.
Tensions flared at the Vaisakhi celebrations in the city’s Handsworth Park on Sunday as members of Sikh Youth UK protested against the police presence.
West Midlands Police were eventually forced to leave the park after being faced down by the Sikh activists who chanted “no justice, no peace, ban the police”.
They could also be heard saying: “Pack your stall and go”.
One officer finally relented and told the crowd: “Give us ten minutes or so…we will pack up”.
West Midlands Police confirmed they had closed the stand in order to avoid “ruining” the peaceful family event, the Birmingham Mail reported.
Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott, from West Midlands Police, said: “On Sunday West Midlands Police was in attendance at the Vaisakhi mela in Handsworth park in Birmingham.
“It was a lovely family event and it’s disappointing that some members of the public chose to behave in a manner that disrupted the event.
“Staff on our recruitment stand that had been in place for a number of hours were confronted by a small group of people and the decision was made to close the stand so as not to ruin the positive mood of the day.”
Tensions between the Sikh community and West Midlands Police have been rising since its counter-terror unit carried out raids on British Sikhs campaigning for an independent homeland in India last September.
In November Sikh activists called for police officers to be banned from temples in the UK after accused cops of spying on them.
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That month West Midlands Police were also forced out of a Sikh temple in Walsall where they’d set up a recruitment stand.
Sikh Youth UK have accused the force of “colluding with Indian authorities”.
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