Race Hate Attacks in Belfast

Date:

At the time of going to press, only 14 of the 115 Romanians targeted in racist attacks in Belfast earlier this month have decided to remain in the country. The rest are returning home. The 22 families had sought refuge in a church hall and then temporary accommodation in vacant student houses after they were driven out of their homes in a sustained and co-coordinated week-long hate campaign.

At one point, up to twenty people gathered outside their homes shouting racist abuse, smashing windows and vandalising cars. One Romanian family was threatened at gunpoint (it is not known whether this was a real gun or a replica) while another had a leaflet quoting Hitler’s Mein Kampf put through their letterbox.

A rally called by local residents to support the families was attacked by youths who threw bottles and made nazi salutes. One of organisers of this demonstration, Paddy Meehan, has since received a death threat. Two boys, aged 15 and 16, have appeared in court accused of “provocative behavior” at the anti-racist rally. At a separate court sitting, Shane Murphy (21) was remanded in custody, accused of intimidating the Romanian families out of their homes.

On the other side of the city, graves in Milltown Cemetery have been daubed with graffiti in support of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18. The perpetrators singled out the monument dedicated to Irish republicans who fought on the anti-fascist side the Spanish Civil War.

In County Tyrone, a Polish family, including a four-year-old boy, has also been forced to leave their home after their house and car were vandalised. A Lithuanian family living nearby was also targeted. The upsurge in organised racist activity in the North of Ireland should be a concern to all.

It is believed that those involved in these attacks are politically disillusioned male teenagers from working class loyalist areas ideologically backed by older, experienced loyalists with possible links to one of the many micro white nationalist groups operating here. These include the British National Party (BNP), British People’s Party (BPP) and White Nationalist Party (WNP).

It is Ireland’s first time going through an economic recession with a large migrant population. We need to challenge racist ideas and confront fascists in our communities, schools and workplaces. If not, incidents like these will become a regular occurrence.


Workers Solidarity 110 July - August 2009 Edition

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