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Dangerous Behaviour with Fireworks Causes Death of Teen in Leeds



(AdobeStock Photo/Jag_cz)


A teen has died in hospital following complications during a small riot in Leeds, where he was injured by a firework thrown down a street while it was lit nearby.


Qais Muhammad, a seventeen-year-old boy, was found in a nearby garden in Halifax, West Yorkshire, on Saturday around eight in the evening.


He had jumped over the fence and into a glass greenhouse to avoid the chaos, according to Yorkshire Live, injuring himself fatally.


One witness told the local news station, "Fireworks were hurled in the direction of riot police who had been called to deal with the chaos in the moments before Qais' tragic death.”


 One man described it as looking like it 'resembled World War Three.'


According to Yorkshire Live’s article on the fatality, a thirty-three-year-old woman who lives on Vickerman Street, but did not want to be named, said she called an ambulance after noticing Qais had injured himself while running through back gardens on the street. "He jumped onto the greenhouse, and that is how he got injured," she said.     


West Yorkshire Police had confirmed the force had referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) as officers had been called to the street to deal with a fireworks incident before Qais was found seriously injured.


A spokesperson for the force said: “Police were contacted by the ambulance service shortly before 8:15 pm yesterday evening (Saturday, November 5) following reports of an injured male in the garden of a property on Vickerman Street, Halifax.”


Another resident, seeing Qais injured, who is an off-duty paramedic, said they ‘did all they could at the time to call the Ambulance before he went to the hospital.


“The 17-year-old male was taken to hospital where he sadly died of his injuries. A scene is currently on in the area as officers establish the facts of what has happened.


"The matter has been reported to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) as police were called to the vicinity due to a report of fireworks being set off prior to the incident.”


BBC reports the incident came at a time when UK Police were dealing with a rise of Anti-social behaviour and violence linked to Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night.


 In Edinburgh, a road was blockaded with fire, and motorbikes raced through part of the city amid Bonfire Night chaos on Saturday.


Footage shared online showed a motorbike gang racing in the streets with fireworks set off along the ground, seemingly aimed at people and vehicles.


Edinburgh's council leader, Cammy Day, criticised the scenes saying what happened was “disgraceful and disgusting”.

In West Yorkshire, riot officers were called to deal with disorder in Leeds when fireworks were thrown towards police in the city's Hyde Park area.


Elsewhere, four youths were arrested after police and fire service vehicles were attacked in the Bradford Moor area in the run-up to Bonfire Night.


In Liverpool, two men were shot in a "horrendous incident" close to a Bonfire Night party.


The victims suffered severe leg injuries, and a suspect, dressed all in black, reportedly ran from the scene in Netherton at about 11.20 pm on Saturday, Merseyside Police said.


In Greater Manchester, firefighters said they attended more than two hundred incidents on “another busy Bonfire Night”.


In Eccles, a firework was thrown at firefighters trying to put out an unsupervised bonfire.


Fireworks were also aimed at crews responding to an incident in Crumpsall Park in Manchester.

Historically, Guy Fawkes night was initially planned to be a political plot to assassinate the King, James the First, who was present in Parliament in the House of Lords.  


Guy, or Guido Fawkes, as was his actual signature up until his death, was the one who, among others, was found with barrels of gunpowder in the basement under Parliament when King James I was there to address the Politicians. 


Fawkes planted thirty-six (some sources say fewer) barrels of gunpowder there and camouflaged them with coals and fagots (Small branches cut from a tree used to start fires.) 


But the plot was discovered, and Fawkes was arrested (the night of November 4–5, 1605). Only after being tortured on the rack did he reveal the names of his accomplices. Tried and found guilty before a special commission (January 27, 1606), Fawkes was to be executed opposite the Parliament building. Still, he fell or jumped from the gallows ladder and died due to having broken his neck.


The instigator of the plot, Robert Catesby, and his small band of Catholics agreed that they needed the help of a military man who would not be as readily recognisable as they were. They dispatched a man to the Netherlands in April 1604 to enlist Fawkes, who had gone there originally to join the Spanish Army.


 And due to torture before his hanging for the crime, he eventually gave up the others due to torture, knowing little of the plot himself.


The other conspirators were killed, resisting capture, or—like Fawkes—tried, convicted, and executed. In the aftermath, Parliament declared November fifth a national day of thanksgiving, and the first celebration of it took place in 1606.

The evening he was arrested as a conspirator was the night of the fifth, which is when it was made a tradition at the time to burn effigies of him and let off gunpowder in small amounts, later becoming the fireworks that would have been the Palace of Westminster, or Parliament blowing up…


Effigies of Fawkes are tossed on the bonfire, as are—in more recent years in some places—those of contemporary political figures. 


His face is known as the typical anonymous mask, with a pointed beard and smile, which can sometimes be worn by people at the many bonfire nights or even tied to the straw effigy. 


Traditionally, children carried these effigies, called “Guys,” through the streets in the days leading up to Guy Fawkes Day and asked passersby for “a penny for the guy,” often reciting rhymes associated with the occasion, the best known of which dates from the 18th century:

‘Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot

We see no reason

Why Gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot….’


Fireworks, a significant component of most Guy Fawkes Day celebrations, represent the explosives that were never used by the plotters. Guards perform an annual search of the Parliament building to check for potential arsonists, although it is more ceremonial than serious. Lewes, in southeastern England, is the site of a celebration of Guy Fawkes Day with a distinctly local flavour, involving six bonfire societies whose memberships are grounded in family history stretching back for generations.


According to the website, this history started when the society was founded in 1853 and is the oldest bonfire society in Lewes (‘Lewes Within’).  


Until 1859 we were known as the ‘Lewes Bonfire Society’, and we have been marching the streets of the town for over 165 years.


Until 2019, Borough was well known as the ‘home’ of the Zulus, which for many years was our First Pioneer Group and the Tudors, the Society’s Second Pioneer Group. 


In 1863, the famous Monster Iron Key of the Ancient Borough of Lewes, weighing nearly a quarter hundredweight (over 12 kilos), was carried in the procession for the first time. The same key is still held in the Borough’s parades and is a symbol that on 5th November, the ‘Borough Boyes’ are given the freedom of the streets of Lewes.


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Tags: Riots UK News Borough Boyes Tragic death Qais Muhammad Historical significance Bonfire Night Guy/Guido Fawkes Lewes Bonfire Society


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