19-year-old held over attacks on Romanians

A man has been arrested by detectives investigating racist attacks on more than 100 Romanians.

The 19-year-old suspect, who was taken into custody in south Belfast last night, is being questioned about the intimidation that forced the families to flee their homes last week and seek sanctuary in a church.

Up to 100 of the 114 eastern Europeans targeted have now decided to quit Northern Ireland altogether. Twenty-five have already flown home and another 75 are planning to go in the next few days. Just 14 have decided to stay in Belfast.

A 21-year-old man appeared in court in Belfast yesterday charged with intimidating the Romanians. On Monday, boys aged 15 and 16 appeared in court on charges linked to the attacks.

Two more teenagers, aged 16 and 17, who were being questioned were released last night pending further inquiries.

Meanwhile, a church that offered the families sanctuary for a night last week had its windows smashed in an attack in the early hours of yesterday.

But, following extensive inquiries, police said they were not linking the vandalism at the City Church on University Avenue to the attacks on Romanian families and there was no indication of a hate or racial motive.

Three 20-year-old men being questioned about the church incident were released last night - two pending reports to prosecutors and the other unconditionally.