Five teenagers have been arrested after a huge brawl involving people wielding machetes broke out at a cinema complex.
Police officers were assaulted and cinema-goers were left terrified when the brawl involving up to 100 youths broke out at the Star City complex in Birmingham just after 5.30pm on Saturday.
West Midlands Police said two machetes were seized during the trouble, which saw “pockets of fighting”, and seven police officers suffered minor injuries.
Dozens of police officers were sent to the complex after a 999 call reporting a group of youths with machetes, police said.
The cinema’s management decided to close for the evening and police said a dispersal order was put in place, giving officers the power to move crowds on and arrest those who refused.
Fellow cinema-goers, including children queuing with their parents to see the Frozen 2 film, were left terrified as police tried to clear the crowds.
One eyewitness described seeing a young boy “crying on the floor with his mother” while another said it was “one of the scariest moments of [her] life” as she queued with her daughter.
Rachael Allison told the PA news agency: “The police told everyone to leave the cinema as they held Taser guns in their hands and started to bring in guard dogs.”
Choleigh McGuire said: “Armed police come, Tasers come, all of the people that were fighting ran off into the cinema, hiding. I am shaking.”
West Midlands Police said a 13-year-old, a girl and boy both aged 14 and a 19-year-old man were all arrested on suspicion of assaulting police, while a 14-year-old boy was also held on suspicion of obstructing police.
The force said as well as the machetes, a knife was recovered from a roundabout near to the cinema and officers are still trying to work out what caused the brawl.
Supt Ian Green, from Birmingham police, said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.
“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.
“Thankfully, the injuries to our officers were very minor. We’ve also recovered two machetes and a knife, and it’s clear that some of those who went to Star City last night were intent on causing trouble.”
He added: “We’ve had a great response from the public who have been very supportive of our officers.
“We understand that families with young children will have been left upset by what they saw last night, but we urge people to appreciate that our aim last night was to protect the public and restore order, and that’s what we achieved.
He also urged anyone with pictures of videos of the incident to get in touch.