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Orangemen Mock Ormeau Bookies Victims On Return Parade

12 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast has said that local residents on the Lower Ormeau Road are disgusted and outraged after Orange Order members held up five fingered salutes, mocking those people murdered in Sean Graham's bookies in 1992. The incident occurred as the Orange Order parade returned along Stranmillis embankment this evening.

Mr Maskey said:

"The Parades Commission determination was very clear regarding this return parade. No alcohol was to be carried and the bands were not to play provocative tunes. This evening bands carrying drink and clearly drunk in many cases goaded local residents and all of the bands insisted on playing the Sash. A fact acknowledged by parade observers on the ground.

"A small number of local youths engaged in stone throwing with band members. This tit for tat situation lasted a matter of seconds as stewards on both sides quickly regained control of the situation.

"However what is most disturbing about this evenings incident is the behaviour of a number of Orangemen clearly identified wearing sashes. Five fingered salutes were made towards nationalist residents in clear reference to the bookies shootings in 1992. Earlier on the main Belfast parade a banner paying tribute to infamous UDA leader Joe Bratty was put on display.

"Local residents have video footage of the Orangemen making this deeply offensive gesture, and this footage will be passed to the Parades Commission. The Orange Order cannot deny this behaviour occurred.

" I would praise local people for the restraint shown in the face of what can only be described as the worst type of sectarian gloating and coat trailing seen in this area for some years." ENDS

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