‘Despicable’ racist attack against 22-year-old student outside university of Edinburgh library
Police have increased patrols after what they described as a ‘despicable’ racist attack in which a group of youths set upon a 22 year-old fourth year British student outside the University of Edinburgh library.
The incident happened in George Square at around 7.10pm on Friday, December 11 when a group of 6 males and females began to racially abuse the 22-year-old who was having his dinner outside the library.
The student – who cannot be named for legal reasons - was subjected to violence and racial slurs, with one boy attempting to hit him over the head with a bottle of vodka.
He was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Posting publicly on a local Facebook page after the incident, he described how the attack unfolded: “I was eating my dinner outside on the stone benches/tables in the middle of a long library shift. I was first racially abused by one of them when I refused to let him try my food. When I squared up to the boy, asking him if he wanted to repeat what he said to me, I saw the entire group begin to circle around me.
"The boys made me feel like they were hyenas circling their prey, egging each other on as their laughter and threats filled the air.”
“I turned away briefly, fully prepared to walk away and leave them alone, when I was sucker-punched in the head. The rest of them joined in and I was kicked and punched in the head from all directions.
“One boy attempted to smash me in the head with a bottle of vodka and missed, getting my shoulder instead. I was on the floor when this happened but managed to get back up to my feet.
"I was then forced backwards by two more of the boys who were trying to karate kick me in the head. I heard one boy shout, “I’m going to f***ing kill you you f***ing c***k” whilst another picked up one of the no-smoking signs as a weapon, and swung it at my head.”
He added: “I was in such shock and disbelief that something so violent and abhorrent would happen on university campus. The library should be a safe space where students should not feel threatened.
"The security guards did not intervene until afterwards, and were very helpful then, but I remember feeling so scared as I felt that nobody was going to help me.
He added it has made him question his overall safety as a person of colour on the University’s campus.
A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh said: “This was an appalling incident which we wholeheartedly condemn.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our priority. We want all our students and staff to feel safe on campus and we will not tolerate violence, racism or any other discrimination."
Police Scotland said they are increasing patrols in the George Square area in light of the attack and are pursuing all lines of enquiry whilst working with the University to investigate the incident.
Inspector Keith Watson of Howdenhall Police Station said: "This was a despicable attack and I want to thank the members of the public who intervened and called police. Edinburgh thrives on diversity and we take a zero tolerance approach to hate crime.”