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TWO teenage girls have been arrested for an alleged racist attack on a group of Chinese people – the latest in a string of coronavirus-related assaults.
The girls – aged 14 and 15 – are accused of attacking four young adults as they were walking down a road in central Southampton on March 17.
The incident is believed to have been racially aggravated and linked to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Hampshire Constabulary.
The victims – three men and one woman – were all aged in their early 20s and did not suffer any lasting physical injuries.
Police said on Saturday it had arrested the pair on suspicion of affray and are keeping them in custody.
It follows a spate of racist attacks on people of Chinese or south-east Asian descent since the virus emerged in China earlier this year.
In recent weeks, a Chinese takeaway owner was allegedly spat at in Hertfordshire, while a young Singaporean student was beaten in central London. He claimed the group of men told him: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.”
Campaigners have called for more to be done to prevent racist attacks in connection with the coronavirus. Last week the People’s Assembly demanded: “No scapegoating of Chinese people, Italians, immigrants or anyone else.”
Stand up to Racism blamed comments from US President Donald Trump in which he repeatedly calls coronavirus the “Chinese disease,” for encouraging racial hatred.
The campaign group’s co-convenor Weyman Bennett said the British government has also failed to properly condemn the attacks.
He told the Star: “We need a real plan that stops people competing against each other and focuses them on co-operating against a human disease and opposing the virus of racism.”
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