Police in Birmingham, a city in England’s West Midlands region, has said there was a “major incident” after reports surfaced of a number of people injured in stabbings early on Sunday.
“We can confirm that at approximately 12:30am today [Sunday], we were called to reports of a stabbing in Birmingham city centre,” West Midlands Police said in a statement.
“A number of other stabbings were reported in the area shortly after and “this has been declared a major incident”, the statement added.
“We are aware of a number of injured people, but at the moment we are not in a position to say how many or how serious.”
Footage aired on British television news channels shows large areas of the city centre cordoned off as police officers wearing forensic suits work at the scene.
The BBC said the incidents occurred near the area known as the Gay Village in the centre of Birmingham, where many people had been seated at outdoor tables eating and drinking.
“Work is still going on to establish what has happened, and could take some time before we are in a position to confirm anything,” West Midlands Police said.
“At this early stage, it would not be appropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “a very serious incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
He said he had no information suggesting the stabbings were related to terrorism.
Emergency services were at the scene to ensure the injured received medical care. Police said the response would continue “for some time” and urged people to stay away from the area.
Cara Curran, a club promoter, said she saw multiple people fighting in the street.
“It was one group of boys against another group of boys,” she told the BBC, adding that “racial slurs” were being thrown.
Meanwhile, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the series of incidents in the Hurst Street area of the city centre appeared to be related but the motivation for them was not yet understood.
He urged people “to not speculate about the incident” and to “remain calm but vigilant.”