Monday, December 10, 2012

Thai Tims No Surrender at Belfast City Hall.




Irish Republican News
7:08 AM 


>>>>>> Unionism in 'identity crisis' as violence expands


 The leaders of the two main unionist parties held urgent meetings on the
 unionist identity tonight following a week of violence and disorder in
 the North of Ireland.

 Loyalists blocked off most of south Belfast's main arterial routes
 tonight, and there was rioting in the Broadway/Village Area of south
 Belfast, as well as in east Belfast near the Short Strand.

 The PSNI said there had been an "attempted murder" against its members
 on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. In the incident, the window of
 a PSNI vehicle was smashed and a petrol bomb thrown inside.  It took
 place near the Alliance Party offices of local constituency MP Naomi
 Long and, according to the PSNI, involved 19 masked loyalists.

 Violence was ongoing tonight in Armagh, where, in the absence of police,
 loyalists attacked the Cuchulainn bar in the city smashing windows and
 throwing fireworks.

 Stones, rocks, fireworks and some petrol bombs were thrown at the PSNI
 in south Belfast earlier, near the M1 motorway, and there were
 disturbances at the Ormeau Road. Road blocks were also erected by
 loyalists in other locations, including Dundonald, Lisburn, Ballyclare,
 Kilkeel, Ballycastle, Larne, and as far west as Cookstown, Moneymore and
 Limavady.

 The violence began on Monday with the decision of Belfast city council
 to substantially reduce the flying of the British 'Union Jack' flag
 above City Hall.

 An anonymous leafleting campaign which blamed the moderate unionist
 Alliance Party and initially whipped up anger on the issue has been
 linked to the larger unionist parties, chiefly the DUP.  Alliance says
 it was targeted because it holds the balance of power between the main
 nationalist and unionist blocks on Belfast city council, and its votes
 were key to bringing about the change in flag policy.

 While the main loyalist paramilitary organisations, the UDA and UVF,
 have been blamed for organising most of the disturbances this week,
 mainstream unionists have also been accused of involvement, and the
 position of the DUP and the Ulster Unionists remains unclear.

 Opening a debate at Stormont this morning, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
 said the involvement of the UDA and UVF in the violence "raises many
 serious questions about the future intentions of those who once
 professed to support the peace process".

 The hardline unionist TUV leader Jim Allister blamed Sinn Fein for
 attacking 'unionist culture'.

 "Culture is Sinn Fein's new theatre of war", he declared, adding that
 the 1998 Good Friday Agreement had been "designed to trundle [unionists]
 out of the United Kingdom and to ease and infuse us into a united
 Ireland".

 David Ford, leader of the Alliance Party, said last week had been "a
 horrific and frightening experience". He said the belief that many
 unionist politicians had "more understanding for those targeting the
 houses and premises" of his colleagues, than for those who were
 attacked, had been "palpable".

 Under pressure to clarify their position, further meetings are to take
 place between the leaders of the DUP and the UUP tomorrow. The upcoming
 Westminster by-elections in the North are also expected to be under
 discussion.

 According to a joint statement tonight, Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt
 said they had discussed "a wide range of issues relating to Unionist
 culture and identity".

 They said they would "work on a joint basis" with a view to bringing
 forward political proposals to address "widespread concerns" across
 their community.

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