9 September 2004 Edition

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UVF behind recent racist attacks in Mid-Ulster

Racist attacks in Mid-Ulster in recent weeks as well as an attack on two Portuguese families in Portadown are being blamed on the UVF.

The Portadown attacks are said to have come about after a relative of a senior UVF man was injured in a fight with members of an ethnic minority community a number of weeks ago. Although the Portuguese families attacked in Portadown's loyalist Rectory Park Estate were not involved in the earlier alleged fight the UVF, in an act of racist retaliation, attacked their homes on 21 August.

Recently a Lithuanian man needed hospital treatment after he was badly beaten by a number of racist attackers in Armagh City. The man's home in Alexander Park was later damaged in a petrol bomb attack.

It is estimated that there are over 1,000 migrant workers in the Dungannon area from countries including Portugal, Poland, Lithuania and East Timor. The town's development manager Paul McCreedy said:

"We cannot allow racism to grow in our community, everyone wants to see an end to these attacks".

Earlier this year David Ervine, leader of the UVF linked Progressive Unionist Party admitted that members of the UVF had been distributing racist literature in South Belfast.

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