A woman was punched unconscious while defending her Chinese friend from a racist attack in Birmingham.

Meera Solanki was celebrating her 29th birthday at the Ana Rocha Bar and Gallery, on Frederick Street, when Mandy Huang, 28, was branded a ‘dirty c***k’ by a group of men.

They then shouted at her, ‘take your f***ing coronavirus and take it back home!’ before physically assaulting Ms Solanki when she tried to step in.

The trainee lawyer was knocked unconscious on the pavement and went on to spend six hours at Heartlands Hospital, where she was treated for concussion.

Ms Solanki said: ‘There were a group of Asian men inside the venue – one of them kept coming up to me and harassing me.

‘He seemed to have a problem with me being an Indian girl with a multi-racial group of friends. We tried to ignore him, even when he tried to spit at one of my friends.

‘Towards the end of the night – there was just the three of us girls left including my Chinese friend Mandy. The man came over again and was being aggressive so we left but he followed us.

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‘For some reason he got really angry with her. He started abusing her calling her a dirty c***k. He said “take your f***ing coronavirus and take it back home”.

‘I was shocked and angry so I shouted for him to stop and tried to push him away.’

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Ms Solanki said the man then continued to shout abuse at her friends as she lay unconscious on the ground, before calmly walking away without stopping to help her.

She was forced to take a week off work as she recovered from her injuries.

Another witness who saw the altercation told the Sunday Mercury that it was ‘beyond despicable’ and a ‘totally vicious assault’.

Earlier this month it was reported that there has been a rise in racism against Asian people in the UK due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

One woman described how a passenger had moved away from her on the Tube in January, while a doctor described seeing people cover their faces as soon as she boarded a train.

A spokesperson for the Birmingham Chinese Society said a misunderstanding of why Asian people wear face masks had also contributed to the rise in racism.

She said: ‘We wear masks to protect others from our coughs and sneezes. Some wear them as a protection against pollution.

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‘Some women wear them because they don’t want to be seen without make-up. We do it to protect others, not ourselves.’

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West Midlands Police are now investigating the incident during Ms Solanki’s evening on February 9.

A spokesperson said: ‘A man made racist marks to one woman and after he was asked to stop he punched another female, in her 20s, in the face.

‘She was temporarily knocked unconscious but escaped without serious injury. The attacker is described as Asian, 5ft 8ins tall, of large build and was wearing a flat cap and hoodie at the time.’

Anyone with information about the assault is urged to contact the police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk, between 8am and midnight.

They can also call 101 anytime, quoting crime reference number 20BW/39330Q/20.