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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Ignorance blamed for 'racial attack'
A window broken in the attacks
Windows were broken in the attacks
A couple who have been put out of their Belfast home after a spate of racist attacks have spoken about their ordeal.

The attack on the couple, who are originally from Uganda, happened in the loyalist Village area between 1900 and 2000 GMT on Saturday.

In a separate incident, two pregnant Chinese women - one who is due to give birth on Christmas day - were also assaulted and a man was hit in the face with a brick after a gang forced its way into a house in the area.

The African man, who did not want to be identified, said feelings of racism stemmed from a lack of education.

"I think the best thing that the politicians can do is just to educate the people that are thought to be doing all this," he said.

"If only they could educate them that we are just part of the community, that we are as normal as them, we breathe the same air, we have the same blood, we are simply the same as they are."

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 okay with the baby," he said.

There are literally hundreds of decent people living here who want to live in peace and quiet and they do not want to see this happening
Bob Stoker
Ulster Unionist councillor

"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."

Ulster Unionist councillor Bob Stoker said the community were upset and angered by the attacks.

"Last night and this morning I have received quite a number of phone calls from local people who live here condemning this attack," he said.

"There are literally hundreds of decent people living here who want to live in peace and quiet and they do not want to see this happening."

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.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Ita Dungan:
"Police say the occupants of all three houses have left their homes for their own safety"



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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