Page last updated at 20:56 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 21:56 UK

Fleeing Romanians are rehoused

One of over 100 people who left their homes
The temporary accommodation is also located in south Belfast

More than 100 Romanian people living in Belfast have been moved to temporary accommodation after a spate of racist attacks in the south of the city.

Twenty families stayed in a church hall on Tuesday night after leaving their homes.

There will be a police presence at the temporary accommodation.

The Romanian Consul General arrived in Belfast on Wednesday night. He will meet NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie on Thursday.

Ms Ritchie said on Wednesday that the families could stay in the temporary accommodation for at least a week.

Police do not believe paramilitaries were involved in the attacks.

Numerous politicians have condemned the attacks, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Maria Fechete said she and the other people caught up in the violence had "had enough".

"I haven't slept in a week - we've just had enough," she said.

Local people react to news of the attacks on Romanian families

Another Romanian woman, who did not want to be named, said she feared the attackers had come to kill her and her family, and she now wanted to go back to Romania.

Margaret Ritchie said the Housing Executive would talk to those people who had been rehoused about "their choices and their options over the next week".

Most of the Romanian families, who are members of the Roma ethnic group, spent Wednesday at the Ozone Leisure Centre in south Belfast, after being taken there from the church hall.

They said they did not want to return to their Belfast homes.

Police responded to claims that they should have acted more quickly.

Superintendent Chris Noble said everyone could have done more.

"There are people out there who know who was involved in the initial attacks," he said.

'Deplorable'

The prime minister said he hoped the authorities would take all action necessary to protect the families.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson described the attacks as "deplorable".

The DUP leader added that Romanians had assisted the economy and deserved to have the respect of the local community.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the attacks were a "totally shameful episode."

On Tuesday night, the group of 115 Romanian people had tried to take refuge in a single house, but was eventually taken to the church by police minibus.

One of the houses attacked
Windows at this house occupied by a Romanian family were smashed

Anna Lo of the Alliance Party said the families were "very frightened".

Ms Lo said attacks on Romanian homes - which included bricks being thrown through windows - had been increasing in frequency in recent months.

"They are really very frightened," she said. "The women, when they were talking to me yesterday, they were really upset, tears in their eyes and said, 'You know we love it here, we'd like to live here, but we're too scared."

Jolena Flett, Racial Harassment Adviser for the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, said they had been threatened verbally and then three properties were attacked on the same day.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Locals on Romanian attacks
17 Jun 09 |  Northern Ireland
Community condemns 'racist thugs'
17 Jun 09 |  Northern Ireland


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific