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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
England shirt attacks condemned
Ian Smith
Ian Smith was wearing an England shirt when attacked
Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned attacks on a seven-year-old boy and 41-year-old man who were wearing England shirts in Scotland.

The attacks in Edinburgh and Aberdeen are being treated as football-related racist assaults.

Primary schoolboy Hugo Clapshaw was punched in an Edinburgh park and disabled Ian Smith was attacked in his car in Aberdeen.

Mr Blair said such assaults were "appalling and totally unjustifiable".

Hugo told BBC Scotland: "I just felt this big whack and I started crying. His eyes looked very fierce."

The young New Zealander, who has lived in Edinburgh for two years with his family, said: "He whacked me on the head very, very hard and it's left a big bruise.

"It was maybe because I had an England shirt on. He told my dad I should be supporting Scotland not England. It was serious because it was a big shock and very painful."

Hugo still wants to wear his England top to support a British team
Damon Clapshaw
Hugo's father

Hugo had been playing with his family in Edinburgh's Inverleith Park on Saturday afternoon when he was punched by a man thought to be aged between 24 and 30.

His father Damon, 34, who was also assaulted, said the man had been wearing a Rangers top.

He said: "Hugo still wants to wear his England top to support a British team. He's a kilted Kiwi."

A spokesperson for Lothian and Borders Police described the attack as "cowardly and pathetic".

'Totally unprovoked'

In Aberdeen, Mr Smith was sitting in his parked car on Anderson Road when he was dragged from the vehicle and beaten up on Tuesday.

Mr Smith is a retired postman originally from Peterborough and has been in Aberdeen for about 12 years.

Hugo Clapshaw with his dad Damon
Hugo and his dad Damon were both attacked

He struggled with his attacker and was left requiring treatment for injuries to his face.

Mr Smith said: "He was a psychopath, it was a totally unprovoked racist attack because I was wearing an England top and displaying an England flag."

The attacker was described as a man in his early 40s, muscular, 5ft 6in tall, and wore a donkey jacket. He was last seen heading along Clifton Road.

Aberdeen South Labour MP Anne Begg raised the issue at prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Hopefully these are limited incidents and should be addressed and punished
Kenny MacAskill
SNP justice spokesman

She said: "Would my right honourable friend join with me and the vast majority of Scottish people in condemning the wanton violence perpetrated on my constituent just for wearing an English top and flying a small English flag?

"This incident besmirches the reputation not only of Aberdeen but of the Tartan Army, who can travel the world without attacking supporters of opposing teams."

Mr Blair replied: "I'm sure everybody condemns what was an appalling and totally unjustifiable attack."

'Mindless thugs'

A spokesperson for First Minister Jack McConnell said: "The first minister's view is the Tartan Army has got a fantastic reputation.

"He thinks these attacks have taken place by mindless thugs. I think there would be a strong suspicion 'are these people real football fans?'"

The Scottish National Party's justice spokesman, Kenny MacAskill said: "It's appalling behaviour and should be punished.

Tartan Army
The Tartan Army joined the criticism of the two attackers

"We have to get a sense of perspective, this is a football tournament, not a re-run of the Battle of Bannockburn or tribal warfare.

"Hopefully these are limited incidents and should be addressed and punished."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie MSP said: "These are appalling incidents indicative of the worst traits of narrow-minded thuggery which every self-respecting Scot should condemn outright.

"Scotland is made up of tolerant, kindly, open-minded people and it beholds all of us, in word and deed, to represent our country positively."

Association of Tartan Army Clubs (Atac) spokesperson Hamish Husband said: "It's just criminal, terrible, but this is nothing to do with the Tartan Army.

"The two people who perpetrated these crimes are not football fans.

"The Tartan Army is known world wide for its ability to mingle with supporters from all over the world."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the two fans talk about their attackers



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