20 August 2005

Heavy security at loyalist parade


The parade took place in Rasharkin

A contentious loyalist band parade has passed off peacefully.

There was a heavy security presence in Rasharkin, County Antrim, for both the parade and a nationalist protest.

A group of nationalists staged a protest outside a pub in the town, which they claim was attacked by loyalists on Thursday night.

Sinn Fein said paramilitary flags had been displayed during the march, but unionists have blamed republicans for raising tensions in the village.

Sinn Fein's Phillip McGuigan said: "There is fear, there is tension, there is concern and it is all coming from people in this village.

"It is caused by a disgraceful decision that has allowed the village to be taken over by a heavy PSNI presence to allow loyalist bands to express sectarianism and triumphalism."

However, Mervyn Storey of the DUP said: "The majority of the law-abiding citizens of Rasharkin have no difficulty with the expression of a different faith.

"Remember, there are four Protestant churches in this village. The majority of the people in this village have no difficulty with this parade."

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