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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 21:16 GMT
Residents discuss tension in area
Protester's placard
A protest against alleged anti-social behaviour was held in the area
People living in the Donegall Road area of Belfast have held face-to-face talks with Eastern Europeans to discuss recent tensions in the area.

Earlier this week, houses occupied by Eastern Europeans were attacked and on Tuesday night some of them were accused of anti-social behaviour.

Anna Lo of the South Belfast Round Table on Racism said the meeting had aimed to resolve any difficulties.

"Once there is dialogue obviously issues can be talked through" she said.

This could help avoid any "escalation of difficulties", she added.

Residents staging a protest in the area on Tuesday denied it was racist.

Police said they have not received any formal complaints of anti-social behaviour by foreign nationals.

The MP for south Belfast, the SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell, accused those taking part in the protest of behaving "like Nazis".

"I have a lot of sympathy with the economic plight and difficulties on Donegall Road, and I have done much since I was elected MP to ensure government channelled resources into that area," he said.

"But how long can you go on turning the cheek in that situation when the people are behaving like Nazis?"

However, Tom Morrow of the PUP said the authorities had to take action about the alleged anti-social behaviour.

"We want to live in peace and harmony," he said.

"We have lived long enough in derelict conditions, we want to improve our living standards."

In a statement the PSNI said they understood there were tensions in the area but that it was "the role of the police to deal robustly with incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour and bring the perpetrators before the courts".




SEE ALSO:
Protesters 'behaved like Nazis'
22 Mar 06 |  Northern Ireland


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