Racist violence linked to unionist paramilitary resurgence
Racist violence linked to unionist paramilitary resurgence


A series of racial attacks in east Belfast and elsewhere has been linked to loyalist paramilitaries.

Graffiti was daubed across the front of one house on Saturday which had been allocated to a family from Africa -- but the new tenants had not even moved in.

“The attacks in east Belfast are highly linked with the UVF since there is no other organisation which can initiate that kind of action,” said Patrick Yu of the Northern Ireland Council for ethnic Minorities.

“Local politicians just condemn these attacks but nothing is done about them. They are not looking at the root of the problem.

“Our community has experienced over the last two decades that every time political stalemate happens, there is an increase in racist attacks.”

A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive would not comment on suspicions that the attackers had received intelligence identifying the tenants.

In August, racist slurs were painted on the home of a Nigerian man who had moved into nearby Wayland Street. Last month a hatchet was also thrown through the window of a Nigerian family’s home in the loyalist Sandy Row area of south Belfast.

One man recently told how he was attacked by loyalists in south Belfast who beat him, kicked him in the head and tried to bite his ear off.

Khader Jagore said he had been left “confused” following the Lisburn Road attack in August by a group who used racist abuse including “black bastard” and “n****r.”

Mr Jagore said he was kicked around the knees while he lay on the ground before they “tried to kick my head”.

The victim said one of the men “fell on me and then just grabbed my ear”.

“I tried to get my ear away. He bit my ear and didn’t want to let go,” he said.

The increase in racist violence has been attributed to a resurgence by the UVF and a culture of violence in loyalist areas.

The painting of a new violent UVF mural in east Belfast was last week joined by another, this time at the junction of Carlingford Street and Ardenvohr Street.

The organisation has also been closely involved in an ongoing ‘protest camp’ in north Belfast, where intimidatory parades are held at the sectarian interface with the Catholic Ardoyne area.


Former hardline unionist mayor of Belfast Gavin Robinson warned this week that the people of east Belfast were in the grip of the UVF “around their throat”.

The DUP councillor said people in east Belfast were being “constrained” and “pressurised” by the actions of the UVF, including drug dealing, extortion and bullying.

He said the PSNI “need to explain just what it is that they are doing and what help there is and what relief it is that they are going to give communities in east Belfast”.


Elsewhere, a Catholic priest has said he is exhausted after his church was attacked for the sixth time in six months.

In the latest in a spate of sectarian incidents by loyalists, St Mary’s Star of the Sea on Shore Road was attacked with paint.

“We’d just cleaned up after the last paint attack and the place was looking very well, and they’ve done it again - why I do not know,” said Fr Anthony Alexander who added that he felt “exasperated”.

“The church has been there for 150-odd years, and I just can’t work out what their problem is,” he said.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds condemned the overnight attack and previous incidents. He said those who carried out such hate crimes were “bigots” who must be stopped and brought to justice.

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