Foreign nationals living in the Village area of south Belfast have spoken of their anxiety and fear following a spate of racially-motivated attacks on their homes at the weekend.
Over a dozen houses in the densely-populated inner city area were targeted in the wake of Saturday’s trouble between Northern Ireland and Polish football fans.
Windows were smashed at several rented homes, leaving residents — some of whom have lived in the area for years — fearful for their safety.
One Slovakian man, who did not wish to be named, spent yesterday afternoon fixing windows and the front door at his Polish girlfriend’s house after it was attacked.
The door had been kicked in, while the front windows appeared to have been smashed with rocks.
“I have lived here for four years and never had any problems,” he said.
“I have had children throwing eggs at my house, but they’re just kids.
“We were out visiting people when this happened.
“I am just glad we were out because we have a three-month-old son.”
Another couple, including a Frenchwoman, said they believed their windows were smashed because the previous occupants were Polish.
“We were very shocked when we saw it,” the woman said.
“We had noticed there were a lot more people in the street than normal because of the football match.
“We don’t want it to stop us living here.”
Another group of young Hungarian men had to find alternative accommodation after their windows were smashed on Saturday. They were too frightened to speak to the media yesterday.
And a Slovenian woman was left terrified after the windows at her home were pelted with rocks and missiles.
Community representative Heather Calvert said she and others were trying to keep the area calm.
“The residents of this area are up in arms. The ordinary Polish people living in this area are paying the price for these football hooligans who are causing mayhem. That’s the price this community has to pay.”