Birmingham Star City: Girl, 13, among ‘machete’ brawl arrests

Five teenagers, including a 13 year-old girl, have been arrested after a mass brawl involving machetes broke out at a cinema.

Seven West Midlands Police officers were hurt while attempting to disperse the fight at the Star City complex in Birmingham on Saturday evening.

One witness described it as “one of the scariest moments of her life”.

Police had to draw Tasers and use a dispersal order to clear the group of up to 100 youths.

Two machetes were seized and a knife was recovered from a roundabout nearby.

A girl aged 13, a girl and boy both aged 14, and a 19-year-old man were all held on suspicion of assaulting police. In addition, a boy aged 14 was held on suspicion of obstructing police.

Police said they expect to make further arrests on Sunday.

The trouble “seemed to be focussed at the cinema” but “pockets of disorder” broke out around the whole complex, the force said.

Media captionSeveral arrests have been made and officers remain at the scene after the fight (Courtesy Rachael Allison)

Witness Choleigh McGuire described the brawl as “one of the scariest moments of [her] life”, as she queued to watch the new Frozen film with her daughter.

“Armed police come, Tasers come, all of the people that were fighting ran off into the cinema, hiding. I am shaking,” she said.

Another witness, Rachael Allison, said “a young boy was crying on the floor with his mother” as a number of people started fighting.

“The police told everyone to leave the cinema as they held Taser guns in their hands and started to bring in guard dogs.”

Star City police
Image captionSeven officers were hurt during the disturbance

The Vue cinema chain had been showing the film Blue Story but has since pulled further screenings of the release – described by director Rapman as a a tale of friendship, love and postcode wars – from its venues.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We can confirm a decision was made to remove the film. The safety and welfare of our customers and staff is always our first priority.”

Steve Graham, commander of Birmingham West neighbourhood policing unit, said: “I understand there is a lot of speculation on social media and people are citing that film.

“At this stage we are not jumping to any conclusions. That will form part of our investigations as it carries on.”

Star City and Vue cinema
Image captionThe disorder broke out at the leisure and entertainment venue in Nechells

The force was called to the complex, in Nechells, at about 17:30 GMT and cleared the area by 21:00. The officers hurt during the disorder suffered minor facial injuries.

Supt Ian Green said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.

“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.

“It’s clear that some of those who went to Star City last night were intent on causing trouble.”

He said the force’s response was necessary to restore order as quickly as possible.

“We understand that families with young children will have been left upset by what they saw last night, but we urge people to appreciate that our aim last night was to protect the public and restore order, and that’s what we achieved,” he added.

Additional security is in place at the complex and police will be there on Sunday night. Officers will also be visiting schools across Birmingham on Monday to speak to pupils about carrying knives.

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