A number of people have been stabbed in Birmingham city centre and police have declared a “major incident”.
West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 00:30 BST on Sunday, with other stabbings reported shortly afterwards.
Police said there were “a number of injured people” but could not say how many or how serious the injuries were.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the incidents in the Hurst Street area “look to be related”.
However he said the motivation was still unknown. A police briefing is expected at 11:00.
The BBC’s Nick Clitheroe, at the scene, said the incidents had unfolded in a part of Birmingham where the Gay Village meets the Chinese Quarter, which is typically busy at night with clubs and bars.
He added: “This appears to have started out as a major fight between large groups of people but obviously at some point knives have been pulled and stabbings have taken place.”
“This will be very worrying for all the people living around here.”
Our correspondent added that there had also been activity on Irving Street, less than half a mile away from the original epicentre of the incident.
“There is a blue tent covering something, the collision investigations unit is here too… The police have got an awful lot on their hands.”
A “major incident” describes any situation involving serious harm or a security risk to the public.
It also means special arrangements are in place for all of the emergency services to work together.
Witness Cara Curran, a club promoter working in the Arcadian Centre, said it had been busier during the evening than it had been at any time since the start of lockdown.
She said she had finished her shift at about 00:30 BST and was drinking with colleagues when she heard a “loud bang and quite a lot of commotion”.
She added: “I found multiple people having fist fights… people from inside pubs and clubs came out and started to see what was going on.
“There were females, males, old people, young people, such a mix of people, it didn’t seem real at the time.
“Working on the club scene for over two years, I’ve always seen quite a lot of fights but it was nothing like tonight. The body language and demeanour was quite different.
“The amount of things that I’ve heard have happened tonight in the space of three hours, with the stabbings that have happened, the car crashes and multiple other things, it’s such a huge shock to me.
“For me to be an eyewitness to something that has happened, it’s been quite an emotional night to the point where I’m actually still a bit shell-shocked.”
The streets in the area have already been closed to traffic due to coronavirus restrictions.
Mayor Andy Street said he had been briefed by the chief constable and could confirm there had been a “series of incidents in the Hurst Street area”.
He added: “The motivation is not yet understood. The area is calm and the public has been told to go about their business but remain vigilant.”
West Midlands Police said: “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.”
The force said emergency services were working together at the scene, and making sure that those who were injured received medical care.
The statement continued: “Work is still going on to establish what has happened, and could take some time before we are in a position to confirm anything.
“At this early stage it would not be appropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident.
“The emergency services have well-rehearsed plans for dealing with major incidents. Our response is ongoing in Birmingham city centre and will be for some time. Cordons are in place, and there are some road closures.”
The force later said there had not been any reports of gunshots, adding: “We’re aware of some comments that gunshots were fired, this has not been reported to us at this stage.”
Many people had been seated at outdoor tables eating and drinking in the area on Saturday evening, the BBC’s Simon Jones said.
The streets in the area had already been closed to traffic due to coronavirus restrictions.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said those in the vicinity should be “very vigilant”.
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Raab said: “We know it’s a very serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We don’t know too much more than that but we advise people to stay very vigilant.”
Asked if it might be terror-related, he said: “I haven’t got any information to that extent.”
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