On Sunday afternoon [September 12], around 30 nationalists and republicans, including several éirígí activists, made a stand against sectarian intimidation in Newry.
Several weeks ago, imperialist and sectarian flags were erected on the newly opened Newry by-pass in an attempt by unionists to intimidate nationalists in the area. This was a highly publicised incident which attracted the attention of both the local and Six County media.
Despite this attention, little or no action was taken to tackle the issue, indeed while the PSNI is threatening to arrest GAA fans for erecting Down flags in the same area, the force took no action against the unionists erecting sectarian flags.
Consequently, local nationalists took it upon themselves to remove the provocative sectarian emblems on Sunday afternoon.
This action was taken to support the right of everyone to live free from sectarian intimidation and harassment. Such was the support it received that numerous passing cars were beeping their horns in solidarity as the flags were being taken down.
éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith said: “Unionism has traditionally used flags and emblems in an attempt to mark out territory and construct sectarian divides.
“This type of sectarian intimidation is completely unacceptable and should be opposed by all citizens.
“Those activists who removed the offending items should be commended for their efforts to create a bigotry-free environment in the Newry area.”