Norther Ireland: United Against Racist Attacks

In the past week, the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland has been central to protests organised in opposition to a spate of racist attacks on Romanian families living in Belfast. Over 20 families were forced from their homes in vicious attacks in which stones and planks of wood were used.

Residents of Belgravia Avenue and Wellesley Avenue have called on the people of South Belfast to protest outside the Mace shop on the Lisburn Rd tomorrow evening at 8pm against continuous racist attacks against Roma families.

Since Wednesday evening gangs have attacked the homes of Roma families every evening, smashing windows and shouting racist abuse.

The attackers have shouted Combat 18 (a fascist group) slogans to neighbours of the Roma families after the assaults. A number of people have been injured and children of the family are severely traumatised as a result.

Police have been called to the scenes of these attacks but as yet there has been no arrests.

One family has been forced to leave their home on Belgravia Avenue after been attacked for the past four nights. During an attack on a house on Wellesley Avenue this evening, a note from the racist gang dropped through the letterbox is thought to contain text from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Local residents are calling on the people of South Belfast to join a protest tomorrow evening in solidarity with Roma families who are under attack from racist thugs to show they do not represent the community and that racist attacks will not be tolerated.

A special call has been made for trade unions and political parties to publicly condemn the attacks and to support the protest.

Questions need to be answered by police

Accusations of ‘police inaction’ and ‘feeding misinformation’ to media

Local residents organising a protest against racist attacks have criticised the police for lack of action in dealing with serious racist attacks carried out by small groups of racists in the Lisburn Rd area.

One of the organisers of the protest, Paddy Meehan has also criticised the police for misinforming the media that the families under attack were Polish, when in fact they are Romanian. Mr. Meehan explained “The police’s reports to the media that the families under attack are Polish is particularly dangerous after recent tensions in the area after the clashes at the recent Northern Ireland Poland football match.”

Log of events

Wednesday 10th June

About 5pm: Crowd of 15 attacked member of Romanian family on Wellesely Avenue.

At 11pm: Police called after attack on house on 14 Belgravia Ave – Police arrive at 12.30am

Thursday 11th June

About 10pm: Assault on member of family at 113 Wellesely Avenue by a gang estimated 15 people, hit with large plank of wood – broken nose and injuries to head and back – child also hit – Police were phoned but when they arrived they did not chase after gang when they fled.

Friday 12th June

About 9.30pm – Attack on house at 14 Belgravia Ave

About 12am: Group of 6 or 7 attack house at 14 Belgravia Ave with stones. While running away from scene they shouted “Up Combat 18 – Out with Pakis” and retreated behind billboards at the top of Ulsterville Ave. Police were informed through 999 emergency number of their whereabouts. 15 minutes later gang returned and attempted to kick front door in. 10 minutes after second attack police arrived.

Saturday 13th June

About 5.30pm – Gang of seven racists threw stones at family outside 14 Belgravia Ave. Police phoned immediately and arrive ten minutes later. Another attack on 14 Belgravia Avenue between 1am and 2am. Police contacted and arrived. Family leave house on Belgravia Ave.

About 1am – Attack on houses at 113 Wellesley Ave and 78 Wellington Park – Police phoned at 1am – Police said they were busy. Residents told police they were worried because there was a two day old baby as well as other children in the house. Police arrive at roughly 1.30pm.

Monday 15th

Police inform media that families are Polish, not Romanian.

 

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