DUP MLA William Humphrey says five Protestant teenagers were left “terrified” after they were ambushed by nationalist youths hurling bottles and bricks on Wednesday night.
The north Belfast represntative said the hate crime incident happened as the young people were leaving the Forthspring cross-community centre on the Springfield Road around 8.30 pm.
“These Protestant teenagers were leaving the Forthspring Centre after attending a meeting,” said Mr Humphrey.
“They were effectively ambushed by a group of around ten nationalist youths who were waiting for them to emerge and who threw rocks and bottles at them and shouted sectarian abuse.
“At least one girl was hit on the back with a rock.
“These Protestant youths, who live in the Ainsworth area of Woodvale beside the Forthspring Centre, had to get away via a rear alleyway as the interface gate at Workman Avenue is currently being closed early at 8.00pm on the insistence of nationalist representatives.
“The young people were terrified by the ordeal and were left very badly shaken. The attack was reported to the PSNI and police officers interviewed at least one of the girls at home.
“This was a totally inexcusable and unprovoked, ugly sectarian attack.
” It could have resulted in very serious injuries to these young people. This sort of hate crime is totally unacceptable.
“Those responsible must be caught and brought to justice. I would appeal to those, particularly within nationalist community, who know who was responsible for this shameful incident to pass that information on to the PSNI.”
Added the DUP MLA: “I appeal for calm and for no further incidents or escalation. Representatives from the Ainsworth community have been involved in cross-community meetings with representatives of the neighbouring nationalist community and the PSNI over the past year in order to prevent attacks and incidents such as this occurring at the Springfield Road interface.
“I would call for clear and unequivocal condemnation of this incident from across the board.”