Protest to Save Ulster a ‘bizarre turn of events’

By Kieran Hughes

A planned loyalist protest criticising Sinn Féin and the PSNI advertised on a Tigers Bay community group’s website is ‘not reflective of the cross community peacebuilding work between communities in North Belfast’, a local Sinn Féin politician has said.

A poster advertising the ‘Protest to Save Ulster’ appeared on the Facebook site of a group calling itself the Tigers Bay Community Group last week.

The poster calls on the “loyalist people of Ulster” to sign a petition to “halt the violation of our human rights and heritage” and join the protest at the City Hall on September 24.

The poster states that the “loyalist people of Ulster have watched their heritage, their rights, their traditions being stripped away by SF/IRA terrorists calling the shots at Stormont”.

“We can no longer walk our traditional routes without being branded as criminals. Our police force has been replaced by the PSNI who have turned on the very people for decades supporting them against the terrorists now dictating policing policies,” it states.

North Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey said the protest does not reflect the good work that has been done to build bridges between communities like New Lodge, Newington and Tigers Bay.

“To me this is a bizarre turn of events against the very positive, and at times tough, peacebuilding work that has gone on between areas like Newington and New Lodge with key representatives from Tigers Bay,” he said.

“I know that this doesn’t reflect the approach of those people in Tigers Bay that I work with and the references to our party in the letter and the language of the letter seems to have come straight out of the (Traditional Unionist Voice leader) Jim Allister book of protest.

“Our party continues to work for equality for everyone and is up for discussing the issues with anyone and everyone.”

Groups like the Antrim Road-based Intercomm and the loyalist Tigers Bay-based conflict Transformation Initiative have been working together to build community relations.

The North Belfast News contacted the Conflict Transformation Initiative who distanced themselves from the protest.

The North Belfast News also tried to contact the organisers of the protest but received no reply.

 

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