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Appeal for calm after protest over fatal police shooting halts traffic

Demonstrators brought traffic to a standstill in a city centre protest after a man was shot dead by police.

Officers and a local MP appealed for calm after people took to the streets in Bradford on Tuesday night following the killing of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub.

Police were deployed in the city centre after protesters carrying banners reading "Police don't murder" blocked roads at around 7.15pm.

Mr Yaqub, 28, was killed during a "pre-planned operation" at junction 24 of the M62 near Huddersfield on Monday night.

West Yorkshire Police revealed on Wednesday that two of five men arrested at the scene on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear have been released on bail. Two more, aged 26 and 30, remain in custody.

Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah urged residents to "remain calm" in a message on her Facebook page.

She said: "I recognise that tensions are running high within communities. The local police also understand the heightened tension that the events over the past 24 hours have caused within our communities and the need to provide reassurance.

"I understand that West Yorkshire Police are working fully with the IPCC's (Independent Police Complaints Commission) independent investigation into the circumstances of the shooting and there is due process to follow which may mean certain information cannot be provided in the way that communities feel they need."

West Yorkshire Police said a "spontaneous protest" took place in Bradford and officers were deployed "to facilitate a peaceful protest and to provide public reassurance".

A spokesman said: "Police empathise with the heightened tensions and engaged with protesters to appeal for calm."

The IPCC said it was "working hard" to establish the circumstances around the father-of-two's death after what appeared to be a gun was recovered by investigators from the car he was travelling in.

It added that a post-mortem examination on Mr Yaqub's body is due to take place on Wednesday and investigators are continuing to seek relevant CCTV footage.

West Yorkshire Police said the operation, which included stopping another car near Bradford, "related to information received about criminal possession of a firearm" and was not terror-related.

Five people were arrested in the two vehicle stops - three in Huddersfield and two in Bradford.

A silver Audi with bullet holes in its windscreen could later be seen surrounded by other vehicles at the bottom of the off-slip of the westbound carriageway of the M62. The vehicles were removed on Tuesday evening.

Mr Yaqub was from Crosland Moor, Huddersfield, where his father is a well-known businessman.

In a statement, his family said they were "in shock" and "distraught" but did not want to comment further.

On Tuesday, relatives gathered at his home in Rudding Street with flowers, some embracing as they went inside.

Armed police and a dog unit later appeared at the property where they appeared to carry out a search.

In 2010, Mr Yaqub was cleared of attempted murder and a firearms offence after it was alleged that he opened fire on a car in Birkby Hall Road, Huddersfield.

People living close to Rudding Street said on Tuesday that Mr Yaqub's house was targeted by gunmen more than a year ago.

In June 2015, police said two people suffered minor injuries when a shotgun was fired in Rudding Street by balaclava-clad gunmen in a "targeted attack" as children played.

Nadeem Murtuja, chairman of the human rights and racial justice campaign group Just Yorkshire, said: "There is a great deal of disquiet in the community about the death of Mr Yaqub and it is crucial that both his family and the Huddersfield community are kept informed about the conduct of the investigation and the events that led to the fatal shooting."


From Belfast Telegraph