8 April 1999 Edition

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Loyalists threaten Harryville siege resumption

In a further escalation of what appears to be a Six-County-wide campaign of sectarian harassment, loyalists appear set to resume their picket of the the Church of Our Lady Catholic Church in Harryville, Ballymena, this coming weekend.

They are hoping that a minimum of 200 demonstrators, including two bands, will show up to menace beleagured Catholic parishioners as they arrive for Mass over the weekend.

Parishioners are understandably anxious and upset at the rumours. The initial Harryville siege began in September 1996 and persisted for 20 months until it was finally called off in the spring of 1998. The intimidating impact of such a direct assault on the rights of worship of Catholics in an overwhelmingly Protestant town are obvious.

Loyalist sources have asserted to the Irish News that the renewal of the protest was partially in response to cross-community attempts by a group in the Harryville area, which is attempting to help prevent any recurrence of the church siege.

An Phoblacht
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