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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 17:54 GMT
Pregnant women in 'racial attack'
A window broken in the attacks
Windows were broken in the attacks
Two pregnant women have been assaulted by a group of men during what police believe were a series of racially-motivated attacks in south Belfast.

Two Chinese families - one with newborn twins - and one of African descent have since fled their homes following the attacks in the loyalist Village area between 1900 and 2000 GMT on Saturday.

In the most serious incident, the gang of up to four men broke into a house at Broadway Parade.

They assaulted two pregnant Chinese women then broke a man's nose by smashing him in the face with a brick.

Windows were broken in two other houses in the area shortly afterwards.

They must have all kinds of worries about bringing up their children in this society
Nathalie Calyron
Multicultural Resource Centre
Police say the occupants of all three houses, some of them young children, have left their homes for their own safety.

Inspector Keith Gilchrist said one of the pregnant woman is due to give birth on Christmas Day.

"She was taken in for observations but we believe everything is OK with the baby," he said.

"It's absolutely horrific that people have been put out of their homes at this time of year, having to seek temporary accommodation with the assistance of social services."

Nathalie Calyron of the Multicultural Resource Centre in Belfast said the attacks were deeply disturbing.

"It must be awful for the people who were attacked last night," she said.

"I hope they're not people who've just arrived and I hope they have some sort of support network and friends.

"It must be incredibly distressing, especially for the pregnant women.

"They must have all kinds of worries about bringing up their children in this society if these sort of attacks happen."

SDLP South Belfast Assembly member Carmel Hanna, who is also a member of the Chinese Welfare Association, said she was sickened by the attacks.

"Unfortunately, it's not the first attack - there have been several attacks in the past on African and Chinese families living in this area," she said.

"We have some very sick people in our society - some very sectarian and some very racist people."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Conor MacAuley reports
"The attacks were orchestrated and pre-planned"



SEE ALSO:
Loyalists hit out at racist attacks
03 Jul 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs to tackle racism'
21 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI 'needs anti-racism forum'
10 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
Racist attacks highlighted
27 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland
Police appeal after racial attacks
13 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland


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