LONDON (AP) — Several dozen youths pelted police with objects and set cars and trash bins ablaze in Cardiff in local unrest that erupted after two teenagers died in a road accident, officials said Tuesday.
Police said “large scale disorder” broke out after officers were called to the scene of a crash in the Ely district of the Welsh capital on Monday evening.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with families of the two boys who have died following the collision in Ely and with those affected by the disorder which followed,” said Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis of South Wales Police.
“These are scenes we do not expect to see in our communities, particularly a close-knit community such as Ely.”
Scenes livestreamed on YouTube showed dozens of people, many wearing hoods or ski masks, milling around while others threw objects and shot off fireworks at a line of police officers with riot shields blocking one end of the street.
A fire was burning and a helicopter could be heard hovering overhead. Shortly before midnight, a car was set on fire and burned fiercely, while a second vehicle was overturned and set ablaze.
The mayhem continued into the early hours of Tuesday, and at one point police officers were stationed outside Ely Police Station after suggestions it could be targeted.
Police said officers had made arrests, but did not say how many.
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said a dozen police officers were injured. None was in a life-threatening condition.
Michael told the BBC that the violence started after a fatal accident involving “two teenagers on an off-road bike or scooter.” He said false rumors swept the area that the accident followed a police chase.
Police said the crash “had already occurred when officers arrived.”
Resident John Urquhart said tensions rose in the area when police failed to tell local people what had happened.
“There was no attempt to communicate with the crowd and they showed nothing but disdain for the community and acted like we didn’t deserve to know what happened on our own doorstep,” he said.
“There was nobody going through the crowd. Crucially, I think the police really needed people to be out talking to the community and putting their minds at ease.”