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27 June 2002 Edition

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Family escapes bomb attack

A Catholic couple and their 19-year-old son had a lucky escape when the UDA attacked their Ballynahinch home in the early hours of Thursday 20 June.

The family was asleep when a pipe bomb exploded in the garden at the front of their house, causing minor damage. They were badly shaken. Local people accused the RUC/PSNI of not taking the attack seriously.

In a separate incident, loyalists subjected Catholics attending 6.30pm Mass at St Patrick's Church in Ballynahinch on Saturday 22 June to a torrent of sectarian abuse. One loyalist was said to have "interfered" with a Holy Water font, eithwer by spitting or urinating in it.


Students lucky to be alive


Six people escaped injury when the UDA threw a nail bomb through the downstairs bedroom of their Tates Avenue flat in South Belfast at around 12.30am on Monday 24 June.

The attackers threw a brick through a through the window of the downstairs bedroom, then tossed in the bomb, which blew a hole in the floor. The force of the blast also drove nails, taped to the device as shrapnel, into the walls and ceiling of the room.

The residents, five of whom are students, had twice been threatened by loyalists. A number of students have already left the area after receiving threatening letters from the UDA. All those in the house are now set to leave.


RUC/PSNI help loyalists erect arch


The RUC/PSNI blocked off the Antrim Road in Glengormley, on the outskirts of North Belfast on Tuesday 18 June to allow Orangemen erect an Orange Arch that is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.

Several hundred loyalists gathered in Glengormley as the Arch was being erected, while a group of nationalists who gathered to witness proceedings were confronted by the RUC/PSNI. At one point, they staged a sit-down protest as the RUC/PSNI tried to move them off the road.

Despite the Arch being the subject of a judicial review, the RUC/PSNI closed the road for four hours, preventing local people from going about their daily business and assisting those intent on raising sectarian tensions in the area.

Sinn Féin councillor Breige Meehan told An Phoblacht that "the matter of contentious arches and parades needs to be addressed immediately.

"I fear a similar RUC/PSNI operation will be used in other nationalist villages, like Crumlin, where the Orange Order insists on erecting an Arch despite the wishes of the nationalists majority of the village. I will be consulting a solicitor to see whether it is legal to put up this provocative Arch when there is no insurance."

A judicial review has been taken by local residents after it was revealed that the arch was erected last year without permission from the Department of Regional Development. Judgement was reserved to a later date by Judge Patrick Coghlin.


Provocative RUC/PSNI raids on Short Strand


A series of raids carried out by the RUC/PSNI on nationalist homes in the Short Strand on Thursday 20 were "a cynical attempt to demonise Short Strand residents", says Sinn Féin councillor Joe O'Donnell.

A total of six houses were raided and three people arrested. They were later charged with riotous behaviour.

O'Donnell also said the ongoing campaign of "low intensity attacks" against residents of the Clandeboye area of the Short Strand is unacceptable.
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An Phoblacht
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