In the past week, the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland has been central to protests organised in opposition to a spate of racist attacks on Romanian families living in Belfast. Over 20 families were forced from their homes in vicious attacks in which stones and planks of wood were used.
Worryingly, the attackers shouted Combat 18 (a fascist group) slogans to neighbours of the Roma families after the assaults. During an attack on one home, a note from the racist gang dropped through the letterbox is thought to contain text from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. A number of people have been injured and families with children as young as 5 days old have been severely traumatised by the attacks. On Monday night, a protest organised at short notice in the area drew well over a hundred local residents, demanding an end to the attacks and making it clear that these racist thugs did not represent the views of the local community. This protest was attacked by racist youths, who threw stones and bottles at those gathered, before they were chased off by residents. Below we publish the leaflet distributed by members of the Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) and Socialist Youth on the demonstration.
Since these events, a local resident and Socialist Party member involved in organising against the attacks, received a death threat, obviously linked to his role in encouraging the community to stand up to the racists.
After being temporarily housed in a local church, reports are that the victims of these attacks are now seeking to return to Romania, having been driven out of Northern Ireland by a small group of anti-democratic thugs. The Socialist Party believes that trade unions, young people and communities must organise to send a clear message to these racists and fascists, that they are not welcome on the streets of Belfast.