Anger at media’s ‘blind eye’ over attacks

DUP East Belfast councillor Gavin Robinson
DUP East Belfast councillor Gavin Robinson

Nationalists in the Short Strand laid a pre-planned “ambush” for the Twelfth parade along the Newtownards Road, a former Lord Mayor has claimed.

Gavin Robinson said there were five separate incidents in Belfast alone where nationalists attacked lawful demonstrations.

“Stones, paint, bricks and bottles, all I suspect prepared in advance, were used to attack the parade – it was prolonged.”

He said there is now a “huge level of frustration” in east Belfast at the high number of casualties and a belief that the incidents have been under-reported.

A member of an Orange lodge made up of former UDR soldiers said both his clothes and the lodge banner were splattered with gloss paint thrown from behind lines of police officers facing the parade.

“I have to get my hair cut to get rid of the paint and my clothes are ruined,” he told the News Letter.

“There was no trouble at all from us but we were pelted with everything they could throw over.”

As the parade returned from the demonstration field on Friday evening a brick thrown from the Short Strand struck a female flagbearer with a Co Down band on the face.

UKIP councillor for Newry and Mourne Henry Reilly branded the attack on the Mourne Young Defenders band as a “hate crime”.

Political representatives in Portadown have also slammed those responsible for attacks on loyal order parades in the town as “republican thugs”.

DUP MP David Simpson said parades were attacked with golf balls and bottles as they made their way along the Corcrain Road over the Twelfth period.

“There is no doubt that these attacks are fuelled by hatred and bigotry and demonstrate a complete lack of respect for the unionist culture and tradition,” he said.

Portadown PUP representative John Stevenson said: “By pure luck, no-one was injured when golf balls and bottles were hurled from Obins Avenue into the parade. The same thing happened last year on 13th July morning.”