Glengormley braced for loyalist trouble

By Staff Reporter

Glengormley Village was bracing itself for trouble this afternoon (Thursday) as loyalists planned a protest in the mixed community village against the City Hall vote  on the union jack on Monday.

Fears were growing that the gathering, which is thought to have been arranged for Lillian Bland Park at 3pm this afternoon, will descend into another orgy of violence as witnessed at City Hall on Monday night and in Carrickfergus last night (Wednesday).

The violence on Monday night was followed by attacks on a Catholic church and homes in East Belfast.

The following day a crowd of loyalists protested outside Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long’s office, forcing staff to close the premises early. Alliance had supported the vote on only flying the union jack on Belfast City Hall on designated days.

On Wednesday night a protest arranged for Carrickfergus also descended into violence with police coming under sustained attack and Alliance Party premises being set alight by the mob.

The protests are being organised through Facebook, including one page ‘Boycott The Alliance Party’, which features posters mocking the victims of the violence and threats, and calling for further riots.

A spokesperson for a local community group, which has done much work to improve community relations in Glengormley said a protest shouldn’t necessarily mean violence.

“Everyone has the right to protest and we fully understand that but that shouldn’t mean there should be trouble,” said Catherine Hardy, from Glengormley Community Group.

“We are hopeful that it does not turn violent and that we don’t see similar scenes to those in Carrickfergus last night. We are saddened that it has come to this and I hope that Glengormley can return to normal tomorrow because a lot of good work has been down in the community and we don’t want that to be disrupted.”

Newtownabbey Alliance councillor John Blair criticised the ongoing attacks and threats against members, including the paint bombing of an Alliance councillor’s home in Bangor. Party members have been advised on personal security issues while Naomi Long is to hold a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable over the situation.

“This is a totally deplorable situation, which has been enflamed by the actions of unionist politicians calling people onto the streets, and now distancing themselves from the problem,” Councillor Blair said.

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