Belfast police investigate alleged racial abuse of schoolgirls

Black teenagers told ‘I’m a f**king prod . . . . 10 f**king months you’ll be out of here’

Police are investigating the racial abuse of three school girls in Belfast city centre at the weekend. Phone footage reveals a woman shouting at three black teenagers as they sat on a bench by Belfast City Hall at around 9pm on Saturday night.

 

Police in Northern Ireland are investigating alleged racial abuse directed at three schoolgirls in Belfast city centre over the weekend.

Phone video footage of the incident shows a white woman shouting at three black teenagers as they sat on a bench by Belfast City Hall at about 9pm on Saturday.

Solyana Abraham (17), whose family moved to Northern Ireland from Eritrea four years ago, told The Irish Times she and her friends Fatima and Chido felt “stressed, scared and awkward” after the incident.

“We were shocked because it was out of nowhere,” she said.

“People told her [the woman who was shouting at them] to go away but it was still hard to hear things like that from someone.”

From the video footage the woman can be heard saying: “See yousens, give [it] about five, 10 f**king months you’ll be out of here.”

“You see why I’m the only f**king person f**king that stands up for it. People like you walking into our f**king country, ours, protestant f**king country.”

A man then intervenes, telling the woman “to stop being a pain” and cease what she is doing.

In a second short video the woman continues her tirade and can be heard saying: “I’m a f**king prod and I’ve been homeless for the past f**king, three f**king years, where they walk into the country and get f**king everything. Work that one out.”

One of the girls, who was born in Northern Ireland, can be heard saying she was born in the country.

To which the woman replies, “Wha [sic], you were born here?”, before the video ends.

The girls were assisted by 22-year-old Ulster University journalism student Grainne McKinney, who was passing City Hall at the time of the incident and called police to alert them to a possible hate crime.

“It was disgusting,” she said. “I don’t know how they held themselves together so well because she was being very, very, aggressive.”

Ms Abraham said they have been inundated with messages of support from people assuring them “not everyone’s opinions are like this and what the woman has said is not nice and not true and they always have our backs and love us and that nobody should be discriminated against”.

“We have never felt like we are different, ‘yeah, I am black, I am different”, we have never felt like that,” she said.

“It has made us scared to think ‘are we actually different?’

“We have never felt this before.

“We love people from here. We have never felt like we are isolated or different and we felt like we are from here.

“We see Belfast and Northern Ireland as our country so we are not going to let it get to us.”

PSNI Sergeant Nicola McHenry said officers received reports that a blonde-haired female was shouting racial abuse at three girls in the Donegall Square West area of the city.

“Police responded to the incident but were unable to locate the female who is described as being in her late teens or twenties and at the time was wearing a spotty raincoat and black leggings,” she said.

“If anyone has any further information about this incident, they should contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1352 of 10/6/17.

“Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”