Three young men were subjected to a “vicious” sectarian attack in Belfast city centre after one was discovered to be wearing a Gaelic sports top, a court has heard.
Two of them were punched and kicked about the head and body as they lay defenceless in the middle of Castle Street at the weekend. One victim suffered a broken collar bone and wrist during an attack described as “savage and unprovoked”.
The court was told that the three victims, all aged 18, were on a night out when they struck up a friendly conversation with two men, one of whom noticed one of the boys was wearing a Gaelic sports top and asked his religion.
When he said he was a Catholic, he was punched in the face. When another of the teenagers tried to intervene he was also knocked over and “savagely kicked to the head and body”, the court heard.
As one victim lay prone he was stamped on and trailed along the middle of the road. The third member of the group was chased towards a nearby McDonald’s restaurant before the loyalists returned to continue the assault on his defenceless friend.
CCTV footage of the incident shows one of the attackers attempted to push one of the victims through a shop window and then threw him back onto the road.
The judge refused bail in the case.
Meanwhile, a fight involving pre-teens in Derry (pictured, right) is being treated as an anti-Protestant hate crime.
A video has emerged of a girl being attacked by a number of mostly other girls on Monday, 3rd April. The 12-year-old said a former friend set her up after inviting her into the city centre. When she arrived the she was chased through a shopping centre.
“My back is sore, they kicked my side and my head and all,” she said. “We went to the police station and they’re going to look into it.”
Her father Paul was told she was attacked “for being a Prod”.
He said: “It sort of stunned me. There’s another video where you can hear them calling her an ‘orange b******’ and stuff, and that she doesn’t belong on this side of the town.”
Ulster Unionist councillor Darren Guy said he was “disgusted” by what had happened. “We as a society are 25 years after the Belfast Agreement, and we have all failed miserably in dealing with sectarianism,” he said. “This has to change.”