Last Saturday’s riot came 20 years after the Handsworth riots of 1985. Those riots, also centred on Lozells, saw African Caribbean and Asian youth lashing out against the racism of the police.
Many activists argue that little has improved in Handsworth since then. Instead of uniting to tackle racism, local politicians have cultivated different ethnic groups, playing them off each other, instilling a culture of segregation and patronage rather than genuine multiculturalism.
“We need to end the ‘politics of envy’ that have led different communities to argue over who gets the largest slice of the cake,” said Salma Yaqoob.
Alliya Stennett said, “In Lozells one third of males are unemployed, with unemployment nearly three times the Birmingham average.
“It’s the fault of the government, council and police. We need investment in housing, education, employment and services to improve the conditions of everyone.”