IRELAND: East Belfast Race Attacks ‘Orchestrated’

Police have said eight racist attacks in east Belfast are linked and were orchestrated.


Cars and homes were damaged and racist slogans painted on walls in five locations on Monday night.

Paint was thrown at a car and all its windows smashed in Rosebery Street.

Racist slogans were painted on a gable wall at the junction of lmdale Street and Bately Street.

Windows of a house in Chobham Street were smashed and paint thrown at the house.

Racist graffiti was also painted on a gable wall in the area.

Damage was also caused to a house in Bloomfield Avenue and a silver Fiat Punto car parked on the Ravenscroft Street.

A group of between 10 to 15 people were involved, some of them masked and there was a level of orchestration.

Superintendent Mark McEwan
Police said all the incidents took place before 11pm and are investigating a link between the attacks.

One of the victims who had “Romanians out” painted on her home in Bloomfield Avenue said she would not be forced out.

Rosie Lakatosova, who is Slovakian, said: “Just yesterday I walked around the area and there was nothing.

“I am scared and frightened and I don’t know why they would do this.

“This is a very good street,” the mother of two said.

Residents voiced their anger at the attacks and said people should be allowed to live where they want free from intimidation.

One of the victim’s neighbours said: “It is the same people responsible, this is a terrible thing.

“It’s not right. These people are always very nice to us they would always say hello to you in the street, I’m sure they are frightened.

“People should be able to live where they want, how they want, this is not fair.”

East Belfast is a kind, welcoming place inhabited by kind and welcoming people. It is utterly shameful that the reputation of our community should be tarnished by racist thugs who offer nothing but hatred and bitterness

DUP MLA Robin Newtown
Superintendent Mark McEwan: “There was a group of between 10 to 15 people involved, some of them masked.

“There was clearly a racial motivation and obviously they set out to intimidate and scare people.

“Many of the homes attacked had young children inside.

“There was a level of orchestration, although it’s disappointing we can’t say at this time if there is a particular group involved.”

Justice Minister David Ford said the attacks were carried out by cowards.

He added: “We have seen faceless people hiding under cover of darkness to carry out cowardly attacks on people and property.

“These are blatant hate crimes carried out by racists and serve absolutely no purpose but to cause fear and disruption.”

The UUP’s Michael Copeland MLA added: “There is absolutely no justification for targeting the homes or property of foreign nationals. It is totally unacceptable that anyone should be subject to attack or intimidation because of their race, religion or nationality.”

Belfast cannot be allowed to become the racist capital of the north, especially when so many people from here have been welcomed in so many countries around the world.

MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP
Sinn Féin councillor Niall ÓDonnghaile also voiced his condemnation.

He said: “We want to create a welcoming city where people from all backgrounds can live in peace, free from fear of attack and there can be no place for racism.”

While Belfast City Councillor, Dr John Kyle said the attacks were “wrong, damaging, and counterproductive”.

The PUP representative added: “While recognising there are difficult and complex issues within the community, these problems are best dealt with by discussion and a coordinated community response.”

This is the latest in a spate of attacks in east Belfast.

Police have said there has been a spike in racist incidents in the city in the past year and have set up a dedicated phone line for people to report incidents.

Investigating officers are treating the latest attacks as a hate crime and are appealing for information on the non-emergency number 101.


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