Birmingham cinema evacuated after reports of people with machetes
23 November 2019, 22:15
Several police officers have been assaulted during a mass brawl at Birmingham's Star City cinema complex on Saturday evening.
West Midlands Police were called to the building at around 5:30pm in response to reports that a group of people had entered the complex with machetes.
The force found a group of more than 100 people at the scene and said "pockets of fighting" had broken out whilst other cinema attendees queued to watch the new Frozen film.
Terrified film-goers claimed the violence was caused by a small group of young girls brawling with one another after a lone female had been set upon.
The swift response of police armed with tasers caused those fighting to flee into the cinema screens in an attempt to escape.
A number of arrests have been made in relation to the incident and a dispersal order was enforced allowing officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave when asked.
Police said: "A number of police officers have been assaulted, and several arrests have been made."
Although, this is a great exercise to show my brother how journalism works. He’s been helping me take pictures and video footage plus teeetimg whilst I’m driving. pic.twitter.com/YMUMUOWoO9— Rachael Allison (@_rachaelallison) November 23, 2019
One 25-year-old eyewitness described it as "one of the scariest moments of [her] life," as she queued to watch the new Frozen film with her 11-year-old sister.
Choleigh McGuire, from Birmingham, told LBC News: "It all just came out of nowhere. I was with my little sister and we went to watch Frozen. I just threw her behind me.
"A policeman pointed a taser at me and her because some group of lads were behind us and they were telling them to move. The lads were completely innocent."
Ms Mcguire suggested the incident was caused by a group of girls beating up one lone female.
She added that people tried to separate the scuffle at first, but more joined in as security tried to break it up.
A dispersal order has been out in place giving officers the power to move on groups of people and arrest those who fail to leave. Officers remain at the scene and are liaising closely with management at the venue. Motorists are urged to avoid the area because of traffic build-up.— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) November 23, 2019
Another eyewitness said that "a young boy was crying on the floor with his mother" as a number of youths started fighting.
Rachael Allison, who was at the scene as the fighting broke out, said: "The police told everyone to leave the cinema as they held Taser guns in their hands and started to bring in guard dogs.
"I spoke to a policeman who told me it is unclear whether the kids had weapons and also stated when kids fight they bring their group of friends."
A significant number of police vehicles have been pictured at the complex and on the surrounding streets.
The incident has led to traffic problems on nearby roads, while police redirect people from the area.