Leading article

Racist thugs need to be brought to justice

It is quite appalling that anyone in our society should come under physical attack because of the racist and intolerant attitudes of a tiny minority.

The fact that such a crime is taking place in Belfast in 2020 is profoundly disturbing and deeply alarming.

Earlier this week, up to six masked men armed with baseball bats forced their way into the home of a man believed to be Polish in Knock Grove in the east of the city.

The man, aged in his thirties, suffered bruising to his head and body in what was clearly a savage assault.

A woman and a young child who also live in the house were unharmed but badly shaken by what must have been an extremely traumatic ordeal.

The thugs who carried out this despicable crime made off on foot although the signs of their onslaught were all too visible at the home, where the front door was damaged and a window broken.

The victim and his family were described locally as hardworking but there was a telling comment from one woman who said the man's wife was afraid to go out 'because of the stone throwing and putting stuff through their letterbox.'

That suggested there had been previous intimidation and it is shocking that any family is forced to live through such behaviour.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson condemned the attack on Sunday evening, saying there was 'absolutely no justification for any form of attack within our communities.'

Sadly, there are still people who hold the most hate-driven views about others and are determined to exert their will through bullying and violence.

It must be hoped that this family are given every possible support at this frightening time while the message needs to go out to the bully-boys that their way is abhorrent and unacceptable to the vast majority of people.

Police are treating the attack as a racially-motivated hate crime and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

This is a plea that must be heeded as a matter of urgency.

Such dangerous and vicious individuals pose a serious threat and need to be brought to justice while their motivation for this crime must be roundly rejected.

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Leading article