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30 August 2001 Edition

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Loyalist bandsmen threaten youths

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew and Councillor Seamus Flanagan have hit out strongly at the assault of a nationalist youth by loyalist bandsmen at the Black Saturday parade in Ballygawley at the weekend. A group of four local youths were confronted by a number of loyalist bandsmen from outside the area and after coming under verbal sectarian abuse, one of them produced a knife and threatened to kill the youths.

The RUC were contacted and said there was nothing they could do in such circumstances. Cllr Flanagan that the nationalist village had accommodated the Orangemen and were thanked with the threat of violence. He has called publicly for a meeting with the organisers of the parade and stated that such physical threats of violence against the local people of the area did not bode well for the chances of another such parade in the nationalist town. ``The days are long gone when the loyalists can march up and down our streets and keep `the

croppys down','' he said. ``What happened on Saturday last was not an expression of culture but an expression of naked hatred towards nationalists in their own town.''
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An Phoblacht
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