THE homes of three migrant families were targeted in the town’s Redmanville estate during an Easter holiday period of shocking racism.
A Polish family had their front windows smashed and the house splashed with paint during the early hours of Wednesday.
An East Timor family’s car was attacked with eggs, the third time the family has been subjected to a racist incident. On the other occasions a window of their home was broken and the back window of their car smashed.
Lithuanians living next door to the Polish family also had their front windows broken.
All of the attacks happened within a small area of Westland Road, with police stating they were being treated as “racially motivated”.
The Poles - who did not wish to be identified - asked, “Why have they done this? We are a hard-working family who love Portadown and want to settle here. This will not drive us from our home.”
The family consists of a father, mother and students son and daughter. The son, who speaks perfect English and hopes to do a Master Degree in languages, said, “It happened after 4am on Wednesday and we were awakened by the sound. There was a brick in the middle of the living room and we can’t understand why anyone would do this.”
His mother, who speaks only Polish, was too afraid to have the family identified. Speaking through her son, she said that they loved the area and would not be moving out, but wished that people would leave them in peace.
Around the corner, Marianna Victr, originally from East Timor in Indonesia, said that she and her West African-born husband Fore had discovered the broken eggs on their car when he left for work on Tuesday morning.
“We have five children and they all love it here,” she said. “Sometimes local children call them names, but that’s just children for you. We had a front window broken recently and the car back window smashed, but this won’t drive us away.
“We work hard and the children like their schools here. Our eldest Bo-Fore (13) is at Clounagh Junior High School and has made many friends. By and large, people treat us well and we will not be leaving. We like work and having our children well educated. We pay our way and why should we be forced out.
“We have been treated well. We lived at Fitzroy Street until our family expanded a couple of years ago and then moved here. We never had any trouble at Fitzroy.”
The Lithuanian family - whose homes was attacked on Sunday - were not available for comment as they were being interviewed at length by the police yesterday, but local neighbours said that all three families were quiet and hard-working and welcome in the area.
One woman told the Portadown Times, “I’d go public, only these vandals would put a brick through my window. They’re a minority and a scourge on the area, while these migrants are useful members of society. You wouldn’t know they were there most of the time. They’re good neighbours and should be left alone to live their lives.”
Police, meanwhile, have issued an appeal for witnesses to the “racist” incidents. The local number to contact is 0845 600 8000, or witnesses can use the Crimestoppers confidential number 0800 555 111.