Our member (an asylum seeker) was coming back from work, walking from the St Albans train station. One of the four white attackers from the first incident followed him while on a bike, and said “Remember the last time we came after you and you escaped – are you going to give us your money and phone this time?”
Our member said “Leave me alone or I’ll call the police”. The man replied “I know a lot of police, I don’t care and it doesn’t bother me at all”. After that, he cycled away returned with his three friends who were involved in the first incident, and again they started threatening and verbally abusing him.
After many racist taunts, they said “Who’s gonna save you now? Who’s gonna save you today?” Our member ran into the restaurant to hide there, and called the police. An hour after he called for help, the police arrived. Two police officers escorted him back home.
The member and his wife told the police they don’t want to stay in the area and go to the city, because they are fearful for their lives. Police told them to stay at home, because the attackers won’t try to break into their home, but to grab a cab if they wanted to go somewhere.
On Thursday night, our members were temporarily sheltered at a different location with friends. They are terrified for their safety and well-being, because it they have been seriously and purposely threatened twice by the same group and the authorities cannot keep them safe. (The media will be quick to cover black on white crime, but not cover white on black crime.) At one point this week, our members had to stay overnight at our RISE drop-in centre.
This morning (Friday 18/11/16), our members sought help from a government subcontracted organisation, where they were registered with. They were told that they should make an appointment before coming in regardless of whether it was an emergency situation, and that they have “no proof” that these incidents occurred.
What does it say about how seriously life-threatening racist hate crimes are taken when our member?s only option is to move out of the area, and hope they are not subjected to the same hatred? Remaining silent in the face of continued race-motivated attacks is acceptance and normalisation of these despicable acts, and complicity in the growth of the culture of racism and xenophobia. We highly condemn the active targeting and assaults on members of our communities, who have escaped persecution and violence, only to be met with a new form of systemic violence and racial persecution.