Belfast Telegraph

Shock as boy (13) arrested after unprovoked south Belfast racist attack

By Nevin Farrell

Campaigners have expressed shock after a 13-year-old boy was arrested after a racist attack in south Belfast.

A 55-year-old man was targeted in the Tates Avenue area of the city on Saturday night when he was punched in the face.

A PSNI spokesman said they were treating it as an "unprovoked racially motivated assault". A 20-year-old man was also arrested following the attack.

A police spokesman said the incident took place on Tates Avenue at around 10.10pm on Saturday when the man was "bumped into by two males".

The spokesman added: "They proceeded to punch him about the face, inflicting cuts and bruises to his face and hands."

Both suspects have since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

The PSNI spokesman said: "We would take this opportunity to remind the public that incidents of this nature will not be tolerated.

"We would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a hate incident/crime to report the matter to their local police on 101."

Patrick Yu, executive director of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, told the Belfast Telegraph it was particularly concerning that a young teenager was arrested.

He said: "We were sickened a young teen was allegedly involved. It is alarming for some one of such age to allegedly be involved in racist hate. Hate is not in-born but learned from peers and the society."

Mr Yu said it is important that young people are told racism cannot be tolerated.

"We need to re-double our efforts to educate our children and young people about racism and sectarianism which are not socially acceptable behaviour."

He echoed the police's call for people to get in touch with them about hate crime.

Mr Yu also said the government in Northern Ireland needs to do more. He said: "At the same time we would like to ask the Executive Office, which had responsibility on sectarianism and racism, to develop an educational and training programme.

"It needs to be rolled out to the community and school system through the Racial and Equality Strategy and the Programme for Government."

The Tates Avenue attack has also been condemned by local politicians.

South Belfast Green Party MLA Claire Bailey said she was glad there had been arrests and urged people with information to contact the police.

She also expressed concern at the age of one of the suspects.

"Attacks for whatever reason are not to be tolerated in any circumstances but when you hear that kids are allegedly involved, it is a bit more shocking."

She said police have not seen a rise in reported hate crimes since the Brexit debate but she encouraged people to report incidents.

A race equality strategy "needs to be pushed as a matter of urgency" at Stormont, she added.

Belfast Telegraph


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