THE 17-year-old asylum-seeker seriously injured a vicious racist assault in south London is beginning to recover, police said yesterday.
An online appeal for donations to help him has raised nearly £10,000 in two days.
The Kurdish-Iranian teenager was waiting for a bus with two friends in Croydon, south London, at 11.50pm on Friday when they were approached by a gang of around 10 people.
The gang attacked them on discovering the three were asylum-seekers.
Two received only minor injuries after getting away from their pursuers, but the third was caught, beaten and kicked repeatedly in the head and face. He suffered a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain.
The gang is thought to have been drinking in a nearby pub beforehand.
Local residents say 20 people watched the attack, which ended only when police sirens were heard approaching.
Five people — Daryl Davis, 20, Danyelle Davis, 24, Barry Potts, 20, George Walder, 20, and Jack Walder, 24 — all from Croydon, appeared at Croydon magistrates’ court yesterday charged with violent disorder.
George Walder was also charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm.
The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (Codir) said it was not shocked by the attack, coming against a “backdrop of a heightened atmosphere of racism, hate and intolerance,” in which asylum-seekers are made the scapegoats for Britain’s economic woes.
The campaign called on the British government to do all it could to help Iranians who have fled the “perilous” country — including those from the Kurdish minority — to assimilate and grant them asylum.
It said: “Codir calls on all those campaigning against the violation of human rights in Iran to stand in solidarity with the young man and his family and to recognise that while the attack was one borne of the streets here in the UK, it is the very woeful situation inside Iran that leaves so many of its daughters and sons no other choice than to leave in the first place.”
A fundraising appeal on the Just Giving website was launched on Saturday by Bridey Watson from Bristol.
Ms Watson told the Morning Star: “What happened is horrific. I was shocked when I heard about the number of people involved in the attack.
“All of us have an opportunity to make a difference for this young man.
“We want to help him overcome this horrible ordeal and show that he is loved and welcome here in the United Kingdom.
“But it is not just about him. We need to unite as a country. In World War II we welcomed Jewish children into our country and they became a vital part of our society.
“Today people are leaving their countries not to steal our jobs, but because they are in dire situations in fear of their lives. Many have lost their families. They have made dangerous journeys. We should be supporting them.”
She blamed “certain elements of the press” for “dehumanising” asylum-seekers.