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21 October 2004 Edition

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Attacks follow UDA declaration of "Orange Line"

In the days after the UDA released a statement on Thursday 14 October declaring they had drawn an "Orange Line" around all Protestant areas throughout the Six Counties, a series of sectarian attacks were launched by loyalists against the nationalist community.

Derry

A South African man and his Catholic friend were caught in a terrifying situation after they were stopped and interrogated by a baton wielding gang of loyalists in the KIlfennan area of the Waterside in the early hours of Sunday 17 October.

Speaking to the Derry Journal, the Catholic man said he and his friend, who has been working in Derry for a number of months, were stopped by about ten loyalists carrying bats and sticks as they walked home to the Cityside after attending a party in the Waterside.

The gang confronted the pair asking them if they were "Prods or Taigs".

The Catholic man says he was absolutely terrified and tried to reason with the gang but it wasn't until the South African man told them they were visitors to the city that they were released unharmed.

This latest incident comes after a series of sectarian attacks on Catholic taxi drivers over the past few weeks.

Belfast

Members of a Protestant youth club from County Armagh were attacked in East Belfast on Saturday night after they were mistaken for Catholics.

The group was attacked by loyalists as they sat in their minibus outside the Dundonald Ice Bowl.

While none of the teenagers was seriously injured, one was hurt when the loyalists threw bricks through the bus's windows. When some of the youth group members left the bus they were set upon by the gang.

Meanwhile, a nationalist family in North Belfast had a lucky escape after their Somerdale Park home came under stone and petrol-bomb attack.

Two adults and four children were in the house when loyalists threw a brick and petrol bomb at the house just before 11pm on Sunday night.

A brick was hurled through the front window and a petrol bomb shattered an outside pane of the double glazed window before bouncing into the garden, where it caused scorch damage.

Michael McLaughlin said his 13-year-old son, who was in the room, had a lucky escape.

McLaughlin said the street, off the Crumlin Road, was not an interface but loyalist youths regularly used a lane at the end of the street as a short cut between the loyalist Glenbryn and Glencairn areas.

"Attacks by loyalists have been going on here periodically for four or five years, but this is the first time petrol bombs have been used," he said.

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