Ireland fights stereotypes on Day Against Racism

SOME black people born in Ireland over the last three decades still don't feel at home, an anti-racism group said yesterday.

Several musicians from different ethnic groups joined forces in Dublin to mark the International Day Against Racism yesterday.

Le Chéile, a group of artists which is attached to the global campaigning organisation Comhlámh, staged a concert outside St Stephen's Green shopping centre at lunchtime.

"Everyday we are confronted with and reproduce stereotypes about what black people, Muslims, and asylum seekers are supposed to be. It is these stereotypes that feed our attitudes and ensure that racism and discrimination continue to happen in our country," a Le Chéile spokesperson said.

The group wants the public to challenge the racist opinions that are still common here.

"Make your opinion known and the voices of the discriminated people heard," the spokesperson said.

Le Chéile believes the country will benefit if people from different cultures are allowed to settle here.

The group is also urging the public to join or donate money to organisations that fight racism.

Thousands of gardaí supported the move by wearing a specially-designed anti-racism emblem yesterday. The Gardaí were one of sSeveral other organisations also supported the day, and more than 100 anti-racism events took place throughout the country.

"The wearing of the emblem symbolises garda policy, which supports anti-discrimination in the workplace and in society as a whole," said Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne.

Meanwhile, a Dublin anti-racist group yesterday cleaned up areas that were defaced by graffiti.

Local residents and members of Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) in North Dublin painted out abusive slogans and Nazi symbols in streets off the North Strand.

Local AFA activist Jo Tobin said: "The graffiti has been there for at least the past six months, despite the fact that it is the job of Dublin City Council to remove it."

The UN established the International Day Against Racism after the murder of 70 demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960.

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