Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 15:22 UK

Racist gang attack family's home

One of the houses attacked
A gang smashed windows at this house in south Belfast

A Romanian family has been targeted in a series of racist attacks in south Belfast.

A gang smashed windows and terrorised pregnant women and children in attacks on two houses on Belgravia and Wellesley avenues.

Police have said they are investigating racist incidents and criminal damage in both areas over the last four days.

A spokeswoman said a crowd gathered a number of times and windows were broken.

There are no reports of injuries and no arrests have been made.

SDLP councillor Niall Kelly said it was a "sickening" incident.

"It is becoming more and more apparent that these attacks are more than just isolated incidents, but are part of an orchestrated attempt to force people from the area," he said.

Alliance assembly member Anna Lo said they were contemptible "acts of intimidation and hate".

"These thugs need to realise that it is people who carry out racist hate crimes who are not welcome in our society," she said.

"People who can help police catch the perpetrators of these attacks must contact them immediately."

'Ignored'

People living in the area are organising a protest against the attacks on the Lisburn Road on Monday evening.

One neighbour told BBC News that the attacks have been ongoing for several nights.

"There are children and pregnant women living in these houses," he said.

"My partner is Indian and we've also been targeted - our house has been bricked.

"The police were here 40 minutes last night before they spoke to the people who were actually attacked and they were only with them for five minutes.

"More needs to be done. The whole thing has been been ignored to date."

The man said anybody he had spoken to locally had been "appalled by what's been going on".

"There are also a lot of people, who aren't white, who are understandably frightened," he added.

Combat 18

It has been claimed that up to 20 people gathered outside the properties which were attacked.

It is also alleged that those involved shouted Combat 18 slogans and a letter containing text from Hitler's Mein Kampf was pushed through the letterbox of one of the properties.

There have been racial tensions in the area since trouble erupted at a World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Poland at Windsor Park in March.

A number of migrant families subsequently decided to leave their homes.



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