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Flag Protests front for sectarian intimidation

5 January, 2013

East Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Cllr. Niall Ó Donnghaile has said recent loyalist protests in East Belfast at the interface with the Short Strand had nothing at all to do with the flag at City Hall but were simply acts of sectarian intimidation aimed at intimidating the local catholic population.

Mr Ó Donnghaile said:

“History shows us when unionism doesn’t get its way it resorts to violence, intimidation and terror. The recent violent attacks at the interface at Short Strand have been little more than a sectarian attempt to intimidate and terrorise the local catholic population.

“This situation has developed entirely due to a total lack of sensible political leadership from certain mainstream unionist politicians, who for weeks were happy to join in the protests, when it was obvious to all the agenda behind them was anti-catholic and anti peace process. Belatedly some unionist politicians have woken up to that reality.

“It is important the PSNI act to ensure that attacks on isolated catholic communities like the Short Strand masked under the guise of flag protests are brought to an immediate end. There has been some good work done by the PSNI in keeping unionist rioters away from this community but significant mistakes have been made in facilitating illegal protests and marches in East Belfast.

“The reality is people have had enough of these small unrepresentative groups, directed by loyalist paramilitaries, holding the rest of us to ransom.” 

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