Belfast Telegraph

Hungarian woman too afraid to open her front door after racist attack

By Nevin Farrell

A Hungarian woman targeted by racists has been left too afraid to open her front door.

A number of windows at the front of the house at Broom Street in the Woodvale area were smashed on Monday night. The woman and a man, also originally from Hungary, were in the house at the time. They were not injured.

There was a boarded window at the front of the terraced house in the street of around 30 homes in the north of the city yesterday.

When the Belfast Telegraph called, the woman who lives there spoke through the letterbox, stating that she was too afraid to open the door.

Neighbours were shocked and said such incidents rarely if ever happened in the area.

Residents said they condemned such hate crimes. They did not wish to give their names.

One woman said: "I saw people with balaclavas walking off carrying baseball bats after the attack. I have no problem with foreign nationals living here and I am against these sort of attacks."

Another woman said: "I am against such attacks and I am shocked this has happened."

A man said: "I hope it doesn't get like other parts of Belfast here with these sorts of attacks, and racist graffiti on the walls."

A PSNI spokesman said a woman (50) and man (34) were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. The spokesman said that around 8.40pm on Monday, it was reported glass was broken in the house – but that two people present were uninjured.

"We are treating this as a hate crime," added the spokesman, who said the two people arrested were still in custody on Tuesday morning.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston condemned the incident.

He said: "Any attack on a house during which a window is smashed is deplorable, and all the more so if there has been a racist motive.

"I visited the property this morning and spoke to the occupants, who are Hungarian, through their letterbox as they were feeling too frightened to open their door after this attack. They are considering whether or not they feel safe enough to remain in the property.

"I understand that they have lived in the house for a year and the household includes at least one child.

"I assured them that those responsible for this attack did not represent the views of the local community and we would hope they remain in the area.

"I left them my card and assured them of our support. I also spoke to a number of neighbours who are appalled that this attack should have occurred in their street and who said that there have been no significant issues or difficulties prior to this criminal attack occurring.

"I know the Woodvale community will reject any racist attacks. Any incident of racist hate crime is totally unacceptable and is hugely damaging – not just for the victims, but for the wider community."

Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson said the Woodvale community would "rally round and support the family" whose house was attacked.

"We all have a duty to ensure that everything is done so that there is not a repeat of this type of attack and that people are able to live their lives in peace and not in fear," he said.

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