Racists threaten socialist for defending Romanian community
THE SOCIALIST Party in Northern Ireland (part of the Committee for a Workers' International) has played a central role in organising protests to oppose 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.
Socialist Party members, Northern Ireland
The attackers shouted Combat 18 (a fascist group) slogans to neighbours of the Roma families after the assaults. A note from the racist gang dropped through a letterbox during an attack on a home 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 five days old have been severely traumatised by the attacks.
On Monday night (15 June), a protest organised at short notice in the area drew well over 100 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.
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 standing up to the racists.
The PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) said: "Police are in receipt of anonymous information which states that persons unknown intend to firebomb the home of Patrick Meehan. This is believed to be connected to your recent involvement in protests about Romanian nationals."
Patrick Meehan issued a statement: "This threat reveals the type of people who have been carrying out the racist attacks. They are a small hardcore group of fascists who are scapegoating immigrant workers to build a base of support. Hitler's Nazis were at one point a tiny minority who initially targeted ethnic minorities. Their aim is to take away all democratic rights. It is important that local communities are mobilised to defeat these groups now while they are small and that is exactly what I and other local residents are now determined to do."
After being temporarily housed in a local church, some victims of these attacks are now leaving Northern Ireland, having been driven out by a small group of 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.