Sectarian bigotry has once again graced the streets of Newry as tens of thousands of unionist bandsmen and supporters were bussed into the area two days in a row.
On Friday night [August 26] over 50 bands and over 2,000 supporters descended on the city which is almost 90 per cent nationalist.
In an almost routine example of bigotry, intimidation and disruption, Newry was brought to a standstill with severe traffic disruption; unionists drinking openly in the street, actually outside Ardmore PSNI barracks; the playing of sectarian songs; bands displaying the emblems and flags of unionist paramilitary death squads.
It was also reported that in the run up to this “bigotfest” event the PSNI had sealed roads and stopped traffic to facilitate the erecting of loyalist flags.
éirígí’s Stephen Murney was at the scene to observe these sectarian coat-trailing exercises on Friday and Saturday.
Stephen said, “I was standing watching on Friday evening when I was immediately targeted by heavily armed members of the PSNI, one of which was a notorious thug called Sgt Wright. He made reference to the fact that we recently exposed their true nature and seemed quite annoyed about it. A TSG gunman standing beside me then quipped, “At least I get paid to watch the parade.”
“It’s unreal that citizens of Newry are being targeted by this militia who are facilitating a sectarian parade through a nationalist area. It’s bad enough being on the receiving end of sectarian intimidation without having to be subjected to PSNI harassment too.”
On Saturday it was much worse. It was reported that an estimated 110 bands many of which were displaying UVF and YCV flags, 115 preceptories and 50,000 “supporters” were on the streets of Newry as well as a massive British “security operation” to facilitate the bigots.
Widespread disruption lasted for two full days, affecting businesses, shoppers, resulting in the harassment and intimidation of local people as well as costing thousands of pounds. Anyone Walking down Hill Street on Saturday afternoon would have noticed many shops were closed and many restaurants were empty on what should be one of their busiest days of the week.
At one point an ambulance responding to an emergency call was stuck in traffic due to the disruption.
It’s high time the people of Newry took to the streets to oppose this blatant naked sectarian intimidation.
éirígí will continue to campaign for the right for everyone to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation.