Long: ‘Urgent action needs to be taken to combat racist attacks’

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has said urgent action needs to be taken to combat a recent upsurge in racist attacks in the area.

She was speaking after a window of the home of a Polish family in Templemore Avenue was smashed late on Monday night. A car parked outside the property was also damaged. A man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s were inside the house at the time.

It is the latest in a string of hate crimes locally, including the daubing of racist graffiti on three properties in Roslyn Street and the throwing of excrement at a cyclist on the Newtownards Road.

Mrs Long said the increasing number of racist incidents in recent weeks was a worrying trend and expressed concern about the escalation of such attacks in the city.

“My thoughts are with the couple involved whose home has been violated and whose property has been damaged. These attacks are completely unacceptable. They are frightening and intimidating for the families concerned but also for the wider community. The people engaged in this thuggish behaviour have nothing constructive to offer our society, only hatred and fear.

“Neither do they represent the majority of the community who value people who have come to Belfast, who have made it their home, who contribute financially and in many other ways to our society, and who are deserving of the same respect, dignity and quiet enjoyment of their lives as anyone else.

“I would urge everyone in the community to unite against those who seek to intimidate and attack those in our community and to work with the police to bring them to justice. I would also ask people to look out for their neighbours and be vigilant against those who would seek to divide our community along the lines of race, nationality, religion or anything else.”


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