Bristol University pair 'victims of racist online abuse'

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Media captionRacially abused students 'to alert police'

Two black university students who say they were subjected to months of "malicious" online racial abuse have decided to report it officially.

Timi Ariyo spoke out after a video about him containing abusive singing and monkey noises was sent on Snapchat.

Tami Sotire said she had initially been scared to report abuse directed at her on social media for fear the group would "become more angry".

They will now meet Bristol University and will also be "alerting police".

'Bring to justice'

The university said it was "shocked and saddened" and would have "investigated immediately" had staff been informed. It urged students to report abuse.

Ms Sotire said: "From the public support, I know that these people are in the minority and should really be brought to justice for the stuff they've put us through."

Mr Ariyo said: "In light of the response we've had from friends and family, and people that we don't even know, a lot of people have urged us to go to the police.

"And speaking to my family we've said it's probably the best thing to do to get it on record, just for safety as well."

The video, posted in December, showed a group of white men singing an abusive song about Mr Ariyo.

'Pack mentality'

The third year law student said: "It was quite shocking when I first saw the video, obviously they are people that I know.

"And it was weird to see that it was happening in such a public place - they were so passionately chanting such a racist thing.

"So many of my friends saw the video and were like 'wow I've never seen anything like that, I didn't know it still happened in 2017' - and it does," he said.

Image caption Timi Ariyo and Tami Sotire say they have not reported the abuse despite being targeted for months

The pair, from Essex, said their abusers were mainly from their old school back home, but also included a fellow university student.

Mr Ariyo, 21, said that the abuse was carried out with a "pack mentality", in the belief no one member could be singled out for taking part.

He added: "I think it got to a point where it was becoming malicious and offensive and that's when I realised it wasn't my friends making a joke, it was people targeting and being nasty."

'Based on skin colour'

Ms Sotire, 21, said she could not escape the abuse - which started in April - on social media.

"Me and Timi made the effort to... block them, delete them off everything. But they continued to target us with Snapchat, add me to Whatsapp groups.

"People have taken it upon themselves to bully me and Timi based on our skin colour. They don't even know us."

The second year psychology student added the abusive video was recorded at a pub and she feared bumping into the group.

"It's about 10 to 15 boys that we can bump into at any time.

"I just fear that this group of white boys will become more angry at black people, more angry at me - especially if I take it to the police."

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