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Loyalist onslaught of Rasharkin must not be allowed to happen again

23 August, 2004

Rasharkin Sinn Féin Representative, Daithí McKay, has said that the events that occurred at Friday night's loyalist parade in the village must never be allowed to repeat themselves.

Mr McKay said:

"The display of anti-Catholic hatred and bitterness shown toward the Rasharkin Residents Group protest on Friday night was truly horrific. Supporters of the loyalist bands deliberately assembled across the road from the protest and launched a barrage of verbal sectarian comments and hand-gestures towards the protestors.

"Many bands did have paramilitary flags that had loyalist group's initials slightly altered to get around the ban on paramilitary flags in the predominantly nationalist village. This is one loophole that Sinn Féin will be raising with the Parades Commission.

"I would like to ask Ballymaconnelly band if they endorse bringing pro-UDA bands into this locality? For example, Giant's Causeway Flute Band, who also paraded on Friday night, have on their official website endless amount of references to 'Fenian scum' and 'Fenian b*******' along with pro-UDA slogans and heroic references to Michael Stone. I am very concerned that Ballymaconnelly find favour with inviting pro-UDA bands and their supporters into Rasharkin.

"The assault of a young woman by a bandsman from the Moneydig band is just the latest incident in a catalogue of complaints that we have had about this parade since it began. These bands have failed to show any respect towards the people of Rasharkin. 27 loyalist bands in a 95% Nationalist village? The maths doesn't work, its time this parade was stopped." ENDS

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