Race relations in Northern Ireland took a turn for the worse over the past few days when Romanian immigrants were forced to flee their homes on the Lisburn Road in Belfast after repeated attacks by racist hooligans.
The immigrants, who left their country to find a better life in Belfast, have been subjected to horrific abuse by thugs who claim to be part of Combat 18, a British neo-Nazi organization..
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, condemned the attacks as a "totally shameful episode."
"We need a collective effort to face down these criminals in society who are quite clearly intent on preying on vulnerable women and children," McGuinness added.
There was so much intimidation and abuse that over 100 men, women and children from Romania had to take refuge in a church on Monday night and at the Ozone Leisure Center in the city on Tuesday night because the windows in their homes were broken and their doors were kicked in.
One of the immigrants, Couaccu Siluis, told the Belfast Telegraph of the harrowing few days he and his family endured.
“We are not going back to our house. It is not safe. They made signs like they wanted to cut my brother's baby's throat. They said they wanted to kill us,” Siluis said.
“We are very scared. We have young children. We cannot go back. Possibly we could go back to Romania but we have no money. We have to stay here," continued the Romanian in the Telegraph piece.
“I don't know what we will do now. We will stay here for a couple more days but I don't know after that.”
Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie told press on Wednesday that the families would be relocated to emergency accommodation.