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Appeal for unionist leaders to stop Short Strand attacks

11 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey has called for unionist politicians to ensure that sectarian attacks on homes in the Short Strand cease. Mr Maskey's call comes after sustained stone throwing attacks on homes on Beechfield Street and the building of a massive bonfire at Cluan Place with images of the Hunger Strikers placed on top.

Mr Maskey said:

"Over recent nights catholic homes in the Beechfield Street area of the Short Strand have come under constant attack from stone throwing unionists. In addition to this a large bonfire has been built at Cluan Place adjacent to nationalist homes in Claneboye Gardens. Images of IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands and INLA Hunger Striker Kevin Lynch have been placed on top of the bonfire.

"We have heard much from unionist politicians in recent days about the 12th being a celebration of Protestant culture. I would challenge them to tell the community in the Short Strand what is cultural about attacks on homes or cultural about the placing of republican heroes and icons on 11th night bonfires for drink and drug fuelled unionist mobs to dance around.

"Unionist politicians and community leaders have a responsibility to ensure that the usual sectarian bigotry which streams from 11th night bonfires and 12th July parades is confined to their own communities and does not result in attacks on innocent Catholics." ENDS

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