17 Jun 2009

Victims of race hate attacks in Belfast seek sanctuary in church

More than 100 Romanians were sheltering in a church hall today after fleeing their homes in Belfast because of racist attacks. Around 20 families were helped by police to evacuate their homes in south Belfast and seek safety last night.


Police and community leaders condemned racism in the area which culminated in an attack on a rally in support of the east European migrants on Monday night.

Youths hurled bottles and made Nazi salutes at those taking part in the anti-racism rally.

The men, women and children, including a five-day-old baby girl, first sought shelter in a house where they thought they would be safe. But there were so many trying to cram in they didn't fit and a local church offered them the use of the church hall for as long as they need.

Pastor Malcolm Morgan claimed the church had been happy to help, saying: "It is a sad indictment of our society, but hopefully we can show them a different side to Northern Ireland and a caring side to Northern Ireland."

Police patrols were stepped up in a bid to stop the racist attacks which have continued for four days after festering for months.

The Guardian