A 15-strong loyalist mob carried out a vicious racist attack on three young Polish nationals in east Belfast last week as recent racist attacks linked to British/loyalist extremism has continued.
Two men aged in their early 20s and a 19-year-old woman were playing soccer when they were attacked with weapons, including golf clubs on Monday, April 21st. One of the men lost two teeth. All three suffered bruises and cuts in the attack.
In the latest incident, a man was stabbed in the leg and subjected to a barrage of racist abuse on Thursday morning. Two men set upon a 23-year-old as he walked across a footbridge into Fane Street in south Belfast.
The pair verbally abused the victim, before one of the attackers began stabbing him in the leg with a knife. He was taken to hospital for treatment to stab wounds to his right leg.
Faeces was thrown at a Romanian man cycling on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast on Wednesday morning. A man wearing dark clothing, who is not known to the victim, aimed at the cyclist and ran away. The victim received hospital treatment after the assault and police said they are treating it as a hate crime.
Nine children later escaped injury after a series of shots were fired through the window of a house in Whiterock Gardens on Wednesday night. The Doherty family say they were targeted simply because they are members of the travelling community.
There has been a surge of attacks on ethnic minorities across many parts of the North over the past year, mostly in loyalist areas of Belfast.
Earlier this month in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast a young Polish family was forced to leave their home when their car was burned. In January, a brick was thrown through the window of a house in Inverary Drive in the east of the city belonging to a Polish family.
In recent weeks the PSNI have said that the unionist paramilitary UVF are involved in such attacks in the area.
Jerome Mullen, Poland’s Honorary Consul in the north of Ireland, said he had sought a meeting with the PSNI to try to end the violence. Mr Mullen said he did not have information on the UVF’s role in the attacks “but I certainly will want to hear Mr Kerr’s views on that but I do appeal that if they do have influence to have this stopped”.
ALLIANCE BOMBED AGAIN
The UVF were also blamed for a petrol-bomb attack on the Alliance Party’s East Belfast constituency office this week. Seven devices were thrown at the Newtownards Road office on Tuesday night, smashing windows and causing scorch damage.
MP for East Belfast Naomi Long, the party’s deputy leader, said they would not be bullied or intimidated by “men of violence” and said the incident was “another attack on democracy”.
Alliance Party members became targets for the UVF after they supported a Belfast City Council motion in December 2012 to fly the Union flag from City Hall on agreed days rather than all year round.
Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness condemned the PSNI and unionist politicians for their “inadequate” response to their activities.
“The people behind this are blatant criminals and their attempt to intimidate and terrorise the local community and elected representatives is futile,” he said.