By Madeline O’Connor
A rally against racism to express solidarity with Anna Lo of the Alliance Party will take place on Saturday in Belfast city centre.
The Emergency Rally Against Racism, which has attracted over 1,000 online supporters so far, at Belfast City Hall this Saturday at midday, was sparked after Alliance MLA Anna Lo spoke out about recent racist abuse directed at her by loyalists.
“It’s about citizens turning out and showing they have had enough,” Mr Mullen said. “I’ve been working away for more than a year, but I’ve been back home for a few months and it is shaming the things continuing to happen in Northern Ireland.
“Anna Lo is such a great representative. It is shaming that anybody, especially a public representative of Anna’s skill and integrity would be considering leaving their home. Northern Ireland is Anna’s home.”
Speaking of the rise in racist attacks in Northern Ireland, he said adding fuel to the fire were “senior members of the biggest party in the executive, not being explicitly racist, but giving succour to people like Pastor McConnell”.
A statement on the Emergency Rally Against Racism Facebook page reads: “Attacks on migrants are shaming. A clear rise in racial prejudice is shaming.
“The fact that Anna Lo MLA is now considering leaving Northern Ireland due to racism – that’s shaming. Shame isn’t enough.
“It’s time to show some solidarity and support for Belfast’s migrants and ethnic minorities. This needs to be big or it’ll be worse than nothing at all. Bring anybody you can.”
Anna Lo, the UK’s first ever parliamentarian from the Chinese community, told the Guardian newspaper that continual racist abuse directed at her by loyalists had led to the decision to bow out of politics.
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show, she said she is considering leaving the country “because of what might happen” after what Mr Robinson had said, as the comments could “escalate even more of the racist tension”.
“I love this country and I chose to live here. I am just appalled our political leaders are coming out and making such comments.”