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Maphoso unshaken by ‘racist attack’

Last update - Thursday, May 7, 2009, 00:45 By Chinedu Onyejelem

An independent candidate in the upcoming local elections was forced to withdraw from canvassing last week following a threat to his life.

Following the incident, Patrick Maphoso said that no amount of racist attack or intimidation would stop him from moving forward with his bid for a seat in Dublin City Council.
In an interview with Metro Éireann, the South African national and former anti-apartheid activist told how he was stopped by two Irish men who then attacked him on Dublin’s North Circular Road last Thursday evening, in what he says was a racially motivated assault.
“One of them said to me, if I don’t ‘want a bullet on my head’ then I ‘must leave the area’. Then I said ‘Why?’ I kept asking ‘Why me. Why pick on me?’ He said black people make him sick. ‘All you f***ing foreigners make me sick.’”
But Maphoso said he remained unshaken by the attack. “I think they don’t want to see a black man become a councillor. This attack shows that I am doing the right thing. It motivates and gives me more energy and determination to continue.”
He continued: “I am not afraid of them. I was just feeling for my team members when I decided to call off canvassing for that particular evening.
“I will keep canvassing till the end of the campaign. I am not going to stop because of some racist individuals that want to block change. I have been well received by the majority of Irish people in the course of my campaign.”
Nevertheless, Maphoso said he is taking the threat very seriously, and has reported it to
Bridewell Garda Station, which has promised to look out for the men in question.
“Those guys were not drunk or on drugs,” said Maphoso. “They meant what they said. If I did not leave the area, they were definitely going to do something.”
Reacting to the attack, Ken McCue of the Dublin North West Inner City Network said: “A racist incident like this on our own patch is an affront to the pluralist and intercultural society that we have been proud to develop in this part of the inner city.
“How sickening it is for us to hear that this election candidate who came out of the anti-apartheid struggle is racially abused on the streets of a democratic republic. This is a naked manifestation of fascism which has to be stamped out immediately.”
McCue called on the new Minister for Integration, John Power, to intervene by arranging for the protection of immigrant candidates across the country to avoid any further problems.
At press time, Maphoso was returning to the North Circular Road to continue with his canvassing. He said he expected protection from gardaí.
At press time the Garda Press Office stated that no complaint had been made to the force regarding the alleged attack, and is therefore not under investigation.

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