The band parade in Rasharkin passed off relatively peacefully itself along with a protest by several hundred protesters including Mr. Sean Murray from Belfast and a number of people from Coleraine. The BBC reports some golf balls being thrown at the marchers. After the parade was over, however, there seems to have been more trouble with the police and (yet again) Rasharkin Orange Hall the subject of attacks.
Ballymoney DUP councillor John Finlay, who had a window of his car smashed while visiting constituents in the area, condemned the violence.
“This attack demonstrates the motives of local republicans in the town who are engaging in sectarian acts of violence. The situation in Rasharkin is of grave concern as local Protestants are being threatened and forced out of their homes.
Instead of blaming loyalists Sinn Fein should focus on the problem at hand, and that problem exists within their own community. They just don’t want a Protestant about the place. Protestants in the area are fighting a ‘battle-a-day’. I call for leadership on behalf of Sinn Fein in seeing that such attacks against the Protestant community are brought to an immediate stop.
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay had a somewhat different take on the situation:
The Parades Commission are to blame for giving loyalists the space to create the conflict we saw in this village last night. It was an absolute disgrace that UDA and UVF bands, including bands from Coleraine who had members arrested for the murder of Kevin McDaid, were allowed to march through this village.
This is a sectarian coat-trailing parade and has caused trouble and conflict in this village for many years now. If the Parades Commission cannot see the problems it created here by allowing hundreds of loyalists to come into a nationalist village then they need their heads examined.
This parade has served only to heighten tensions in the area even further. The fact that the DUP continues to defend the right of loyalist paramilitaries to march through Catholic areas just goes to show that they have yet to sever all their links with these paramilitary organisations.
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