A sectarian attack on a 12-year-old boy in north Belfast has been condemned.
The boy was assaulted in the Ardoyne road area on Saturday night.
Inspector Nick Browne said he was approached by a group of five young people believed to be aged between 13-14 years as he walked past a fast food outlet at around 7.30pm.
“One of them then approached him and punched him above the eye,” he said.
“This was a frightening experience for the victim and it is being treated as a sectarian hate crime.
“If you were in the Ardoyne road last night and witnessed this incident or you have any information relating to it, please contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1874 of 17/7/21.”
SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon has condemned the attack.
“It is sickening that a child was attacked by a group of young people while out walking on Saturday evening.
“This sectarian hate crime should be met with universal condemnation. The fact that attacks like this continue to happen in 2021 should be a wake-up call to us all,” she said.
“My thoughts are with the boy who is understandably shaken following this attack. Incidents like this do not reflect the community in North Belfast and Ardoyne, where the vast majority of people just want to live in harmony with their neighbours.
“I would urge any young people engaging in this type of activity to stop, consider their actions and the fact that they will end up with a criminal record that will have a huge impact on their future.
“I would also encourage anyone with any information about this attack to come forward to police.”