Ulster says no to racism
"I was a refugee from Hitler's Germany in 1939 and I have been so well treated in England and Northern Ireland, and I just want that for everybody"
Inge Radford at Saturday's march
Saturday afternoon in Belfast saw 8,000 people march together in the most ethnically diverse political demonstration ever seen in Northern Ireland.
The Unite Against Racism march was organised by Amnesty International in partnership with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM).
The march was designed to reassure ethnic and religious minorities in Northern Ireland that they are a welcome and integral part of the community and to call for effective political leadership against racism. The demonstration came after weeks of public debate about racism in Northern Ireland against a background of rising racist hate crimes and comments from the First Minister Peter Robinson, supporting a pastor who delivered a widely publicised anti-Muslim sermon.
"Racism can't be tolerated in Northern Ireland. We've been very offended and very hurt over ther last few weeks, and we want to show that we're not going to put up with it any longer."
Dr. Uzma Smylie
The Northern Ireland Executive has let down victims of racism by failing to deliver a Racial Equality Strategy, first promised in 2007, which would form a comprehensive plan to combat the problem.
Amnesty's response was Saturday's march which was led by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nichola Mallon; Rev Dr Donald Watts, President of the Irish Council of Churches; and Dr Mazhar M. Khan, a leader from the Muslim community in Northern Ireland, alongside the parade organisers.
Ministers have now announced that they hope to deliver a draft Racial Equality Strategy before Stormont's summer recess.
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