Londonderry: Protest against racism after attack victim 'feared' for life in assault

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Media captionAn anti-racism protest was held outside the shop where attack victim Tharwat Elshahat works

Up to 100 people have attended an anti-racist rally in Londonderry in protest against an attack on an Egyptian man in the city.

Tharwat Elshahat needed three stitches to his face after the assault by a number of men outside the shop in which he works on the Strand Road on Tuesday.

He said he feared for his life during the attack.

Two men, aged 20 and 41, were arrested and released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Mr Elshahat, 31, who has lived in Derry for three years, said he was assaulted with a crutch before being punched.

Image caption Tharwat Elshahat said he was "so proud" of the response to the attack from the Derry community

He said: "I felt scared because one of them looked at me and told me: 'I will shot (sic) you, I will cut your neck off.'

"Why we have to work like that? Why we have to serve people like that?

"I don't know why they didn't like us."

Speakers at the protest rally on Friday condemned the attack and said racism had no place in society.

Mr Elshahat said his wife, who witnessed the attack, has been left in shock and is now unable to work.

But he added that he not experienced any previous trouble in his time living in Derry and would not be driven out of the city as a result of the attack.

Disown

Eamonn McCann, one of the organisers of the rally, said the attack was "reprehensible".

"We have racists in Derry but Derry is not a racist city," he said.

"I think the overwhelming majority of people in Derry would thoroughly disown what happened here on Tuesday night."