More Polish homes targeted by racist thugs in fresh bout of 'ethnic cleansing' by UVF
Published 06/05/2014 | 02:30
A young Polish family say they may have to leave their home after their property was one of three attacked in the latest in a surge of race hate crimes.
The front windows were smashed and racist graffiti daubed across the properties.
Those who live there told of their terror and said they were fearful of further attacks.
A 28-year-old woman, who moved to Northern Ireland from Poland, said she was "very afraid" for the safety of her young family.
"We don't know what we will do," she told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was very scary."
The rented houses are adjacent to each other at Roslyn Street in east Belfast.
'Locals only' and 'get out' were scrawled over wooden panels placed over the shattered windows.
Another of those targeted is an elderly man from Belfast. He spent yesterday walking through the area in the rain as he didn't want to sit alone in his house.
"They were after the Polish people," he said.
"I just got the house last Tuesday and now this.
"I'm from Belfast. People just want to be left alone."
The weekend attack was the latest in a surge of race hate incidents across Belfast – with the UVF accused of orchestrating the sickening violence.
A senior police officer recently said the hike in hate crimes left "the unpleasant taste of a bit of ethnic cleansing".
The PSNI also said it was in no doubt about the involvement of paramilitary groups, notably the UVF.
"The nature of recent crimes is very insidious in nature, they are very direct physical manifestations of hatred and intolerance, the nature of which should cause us very significant concern," Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said last month.
Polish community worker Eva Grosman said the attacks were hugely damaging to the image of Northern Ireland.
"Yet again Northern Ireland is gaining the reputation as the hate crime capital of Europe," she said.
"With all the efforts that have gone on to create a positive image of Northern Ireland, it's really having a negative effect."
Last week a Romanian man had faeces thrown at him during a sickening attack, also in the east of the city.
The man was targeted as he cycled along the Newtownards Road.
Police have appealed for information about the latest incidents.
Figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph showed a worrying 43% spike in reported attacks on ethnic minorities across Northern Ireland in the past year. More than two race attacks are reported to police every day, with equality campaigners concerned up to 80% of incidents go unreported. Our figures showed that there were 156 race crimes across Northern Ireland in the first three months of this year compared to 103 for the same period in 2013. The majority of incidents took place in north Belfast (27), followed by the east (23) and south (16) of the city.