Fears of violence and intimidation in Bradford on polling day prove unfounded (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Election candidates still out campaigning right up to polling stations closing at 10pm
Polling day passed relatively peacefully yesterday, despite concerns over potential violence or intimidation on the streets.
Bradford Council seats across the district were up for grabs as well as seats on the European Parliament, with churches, community centres and mosques becoming polling stations for the day.
Although police were called to some incidents, fears of violence were, for the most part, unfounded.
Many candidates, particualrly in inner city wards, could still be seen and heard chasing votes in their campaign vehicles almost right until polls closed at 10pm.
Volunteers at St Paul’s Church polling station in Manningham said there had been a steady stream of people throughout the day, but that after 5pm the polling station had been packed.
One estimated the turnout could have been as high as 50 per cent. They said the day had been good natured, and there had been no problems at the polls.
Bradford had been identified as a “high risk” area for voting fraud, and police were in attendance at some polling stations, although one officer said this was due to the high number of people expected at the station.
And by the time of polls closed police said there had not been any major incidents.
Earlier in the day police were called in to investigate a car crash in Lidget Green involving political campaigners, while rumours of a scuffle outside a polling station in Heaton turned out to be unrelated to the local and European elections.
In the Lidget Green incident, a car being driven by a political campaigner appeared to leave the scene after a minor collision with a rival party’s vehicle.
It happened as the Respect Party was touring the city in an open-top bus, with Bradford West MP George Galloway on the megaphone.
The events were filmed by the Respect Party from the top of the bus and posted online.
Police confirmed they were investigating, but that it had been reported as a collision which had caused damage, rather than a fail-to-stop incident.
Reports of a fight outside a polling station in one of the tinder-box areas, Heaton, turned out to be a false alarm.
There had been rumours of a scuffle among political activists outside the polling station at Haworth Road, but it turned out to be a ‘road rage’ incident unrelated to the elections. No-one was arrested.
The count for Bradford Council seats was due to begin at lunchtime today while votes for the European elections will be counted on Sunday.