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15 February 2001 Edition

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Orange Intimidation on Garvaghy Road

As the 1,000th day of the siege of Garvaghy Road approaches, Orange protesters have again taken to the streets of Portadown.

Around 300 members of the Orange Order, many of them wearing masks, blockaded the town centre end of Garvaghy Road on Monday evening, 12 February.

The Orange protesters then moved on to Craigwell Avenue, which leads to the nationalist Obins Street and where loyalists have in the past attacked nationalist homes.

According to Independent nationalist councillor and Garvaghy Road spokesperson Breandán Mac Cionnaith, the Orangemen shouted abuse at Catholic residents and attacked several cars.

``In the most serious attack, four women returning from a night out were badly shocked after Orangemen surrounded their car and badly damaged the vehicle.

``To have large numbers of men assembling outside your home during the hours of darkness is no doubt very frightening and intimidating. That is exactly what these Orange demonstrations are about - to frighten and coerce the local Catholic community'', stated Mac Cionnaith.

The picket, one of the first of its kind since last November comes just a week after parades mediator South African lawyer Brian Currin warned the Orange Order of the ``dire'' consequences of their refusal to engage in direct dialogue with nationalist residents to resolve the parades issue.
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