Belfast Telegraph

Racist attacks force pregnant mother and family to flee home

By Rachel Martin

A pregnant woman and her family have been forced out of their east Belfast home after "mindless thugs" subjected them to a campaign of racially motivated violence.

Bricks were thrown through both the upstairs and downstairs windows of the house in the latest attack.

While the family were not at home at the time, they were left very shaken.

The Sudanese woman, who did not wish to be named, said she felt forced to leave her home.

"We have to be honest and rational," she added. "We are not from here and there are people who don't like foreign people living around them.

"I want (my son) to understand this as soon as possible so he can be ready for what might happen in the future."

Police are treating the incident, reported on Thursday night, as racially motivated.

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said: "The shameful catalogue of attacks that this family has been subjected to is a disgrace. They've had their home egged, their car windows smashed and now their home attacked again.

"To attack the home of a refugee family who have integrated themselves into our community is absolutely shameful.

"I can only imagine how the pregnant mother has felt throughout this ordeal."

DUP Westminster candidate Gavin Robinson added: "This is a disgraceful attack on a family home. There should be no place in our society for those who engage in such hate crimes.

"It is vital that we send out a united message against such attacks, but also clearly state that those responsible do not represent the vast majority of people in east Belfast.

"There has been a great deal of work carried out locally in building relationships and challenging some of the myths that exist around immigration and those who choose to make Belfast their home."

Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen said the "cowardly behaviour" did not reflect the people of Belfast. "Everyone deserves to live in peace and nobody should be made to feel intimated or threatened by bullies and bigots," he stressed.

Sinn Fein councillor Mairead O'Donnell added: "They and other refugees and those from other countries who have chosen to make Belfast their home are an integral part of our community and are very welcome."

The PSNI has appealed to witnesses or anyone with information that could help the police to contact the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1230 of 27/4/17.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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