Racist thugs chased from South Belfast Rally

Date:

Last night, local residents organised a rally on the Lisburn Road in South Belfast against a spate of racist attacks against Romanian families.

Since last Wednesday, a gang of youths have attacked the homes of families living in Belgravia Avenue and Wellesley Avenue every evening, smashing windows and shouting racist abuse, forcing one family to leave their home on Belgravia Avenue.

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.

It remains unclear whether these attacks are orchestrated by a fascist group or whether it is the actions of mindless youths. However, during the attacks, the youths shouted ‘Combat 18’ slogans and distributed copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

In solidarity and support with the families, residents and anti-racist activists are staying in the house to deter any attack.

For further information on what you can do to help contact Paddy Meehan on 07876146473

Below is a report from Davy Carlin, a WSM member who participated in the rally.

Given the attempted propaganda {by some} against last nights rally I give but a brief account of my experience of the anti racism rally.

Well over 100 people attended the rally at very short notice.

I had arrived about 5 minutes before the rally started, and in doing so I had walked past a group of youths about 10 then in total, aged between 17-19 years old - and a few older ones hanging around them. As I walked past them {I did not know that they where there at the time as outside a bar on a side street} a comment was made - which I ignored.

I proceeded down to the rally.

Then a short time later the youths – one giving a Nazi salute started to make their way towards the rally, {the rally made up mostly of local residents and included many young people and those from the minority ethnic community}. As they approached several anti fascist activists stood - in front and in defence - of the rally. They came up almost face to face and a comment was made to me and others, which we ignored.

They then made their way up an entry where they again gave Nazi signs and hurled other abuse. Chants from the rally then went up ‘Nazis of our streets!

They seemed to have disappeared, but a short time later bottles and bricks rained down on the rally narrowly missing people there- as some of them again attempted to make their way towards the rally. It was then that Anti Fascist Activists {and others attending the rally} – in defence of the rally - chased after them into the surrounded streets and alleyways..

After 10 minutes or so - and all back at the rally – the rally continued.

It was then that the police arrived in any numbers

Further decisions where taken to provide support and defence for those attacked – and for oneself a number of people that I had previously worked with from the ‘Village {and their - Wider Networks} came to speak to me at one particular house. With them, they agreed that they would seek to get some practical help for the residents, such as {in the interim} getting the windows which where broken on the house we where at, boarded up {as it was freezing inside for the residents – Also, {after a long discussion} other practical support was promised – and awaited.

The residents of the area should be applauded and supported for the rally they organised.

On a wider note – the move from racism to fascism I had unfortunately predicted way back. Indeed this is the first time such a rally has seen attacks by fascists – and such Anti Fascist - Fascist confrontation, on the streets of Belfast in I don’t know how long. Yet given in a week where we have seen the BNP setting up ‘call centres’ in and around Belfast and the overt attacks on the minority ethnic communities this is a worrying development.

Given the age of the fascists {although older ones about – from knowledge} it shows a wider alienation, and those drawn into such Fascist ideology - and this in not confined to these particular areas as there are small individuals and pockets of it growing over Belfast and around the North.

As far right organisations also seek to exploit such - support needs to be provided to the minority ethic community here, and solidarity forthcoming when called for.

There is a difference, I believe, in tackling racism, and that of taking on fascism – and indeed organised fascism if it gets that far.

The lessons for Anti Fascists are clear from history, the fascists need to be ‘Nipped in the bud’ from the very onset – they cannot build, they cannot march –

Video footage of the rally http://www.u.tv/UTVMediaPlayer/Default.aspx?vidid=12220...ac39d

Link to Interview with militant anti-fascist organisation Antifa by a wsm member
http://www.antifa.org.uk/interview.htm

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