9 June 2005 Edition
Bandsmen try to stir sectarian tensions
Sinn Féin has slammed a loyalist parade along the Suffolk Road in West Belfast after a number of bandsmen shouted sectarian slogans and made offensive gestures to nationalist residents in an attempt to create trouble on Saturday last.
Upper Falls Councillor Gerard O'Neill accused the loyalist organisers of not confronting the bandsmen and of ignoring the Parades Commission determination that the event had to be concluded by 4.30pm.
"The organisers of this parade didn't do anything to stop the sectarian shouts or gestures being made to the Catholic community and it was well past 5pm before the event ended, totally ignoring the Parades Commission ruling's and greatly disrupting the local nationalist community," he said.
O'Neill hit out at the attitude of the PSNI during the triumphalist march.
"While this loyalist parade was going on the PSNI videotaped and photographed nationalist residents, while totally ignoring loyalist bandsmen who were shouting obscenities and making sectarian gestures," he said.
O'Neill said local people don't want the march, as they know it heightens community tensions.
"The Protestant community of the Suffolk estate know the tensions these parades bring to the area, and for that same reason nationalist parades are re-routed away from that area by the organisers," he said.