Thursday 23 January 2020

Schoolboys film themselves hurling racist abuse and throwing stones at woman

Claire Williamson

Police have launched an investigation after footage emerged of three young boys hurling racial abuse and calling a Romanian woman a "suicide bomber".

Footage of the incident was posted on Facebook over the weekend and shows the schoolboys shouting abuse at the woman.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 400,000 times, one of the boys also appears to throw stones at the woman.

The video begins with the woman asking why they are not respecting her.

She stands her ground during the ordeal.

One of the boys say: "You're not a girl. You're an immigrant. You shouldn't be in this country. Do you have a visa to say here?"

Another says: "Do you have a passport? Come on and show me it."

One of the boys then appears to mock the woman's accent.

They ask her where she is from and when she replies Romania, someone close to the camera says "suicide bomber".

Another says: "We don't like Romanians."

Police have launched an investigation and said they have identified the three boys in the video.

Chief Inspector Arthur Davidson said: “At this stage we have identified the three boys involved and arrangements will be made to speak to them formally over the next few days. We are also working to identify the victim in order to ensure she is offered every support as we move forward with our investigation.”

The Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities said the behaviour in the video is "not acceptable".

Patrick Yu said: "This behaviour is not acceptable in our society and it is particularly worrying due to the timing of this incident and the ongoing Brexit debate at the Conservative Party Conference on the timetable of Brexit which is a hard landing one that called upon to control the migrants and the country.

"We call upon all local communities in NI to report all racist incidents to PSNI.”

Manager of the Migrant Centre Northern Ireland, Jolena Flett said verbal abuse is the most under-reported of incidents.

She said: "We all need to take responsibility for creating a more positive and constructive dialogue. Verbal abuse incidents are the most under-reported because victims often do not believe anything can or will be done.

"It is important to take notice of these incidents and create an environment where victims or witnesses are confident to report them.”

Alliance Antrim Councillor Neil Kelly expressed his shock at the video.

He said: "This is not reflective of the vast majority of people in Antrim, who are welcoming and friendly to all. I have been inundated with people voicing their concern in relation to it and wishing to express their best wishes to the victim.

“I hope she is OK after this incident and does not judge everybody in this town by the disgraceful actions of a few. There can never be an excuse for racism – it has absolutely no place in our society and blatant intimidation such as this video appears to show needs to be stamped out.

“I have reported this video to the PSNI, who have confirmed they are investigating, and would urge anyone else with information to also provide it to police.”

Belfast Telegraph

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