Belfast Telegraph

Anna Lo comments spark 'Emergency Rally Against Racism' in Belfast

By Amanda Ferguson

A rally against racism to express solidarity with Anna Lo is set to take place in Belfast city centre this weekend.

Activists behind the Emergency Rally Against Racism, at Belfast City Hall this Saturday at midday, say the Alliance MLA’s outpouring of emotion in response to the Pastor McConnell row and recent racist abuse directed at her by loyalists, was “the final straw” that has sprung them into action.

Facebook event organiser Lorcan Mullen from Strabane told the Belfast Telegraph people feel compelled to show Ms Lo she has their support.

The event has attracted around 1,000 supporters so far.

“It’s about citizens turning out and showing they have had enough,” Mr Mullen said.

“I’ve been working away for more than a year, but I’ve been back home for a few months and it is shaming the things continuing to happen in Northern Ireland.

“Anna Lo is such a great representative. It is shaming that anybody, especially a public representative of Anna’s skill and integrity would be considering leaving their home. Northern Ireland is Anna’s home.”

Mr Mullen said more must be done to tackle the increasing number of racists attack here.

“There is the recent rise in racist attacks and then you have the First Minister and senior members of the biggest party in the executive, not being explicitly racist, but giving succour to people like Pastor McConnell,” he added.

A statement on the Emergency Rally Against Racism Facebook page says: “Attacks on migrants are shaming. A clear rise in racial prejudice is shaming.

“The fact that Anna Lo MLA is now considering leaving Northern Ireland due to racism - that's shaming. Shame isn't enough.

“It's time to show some solidarity and support for Belfast's migrants and ethnic minorities.

“This needs to be big or it'll be worse than nothing at all. Bring anybody you can.”

Alliance report Facebook posts to police

By Claire Cromie

Police are investigating a report of hate crime concerning Anna Lo on Facebook.

The Alliance Party contacted police after the allegedly racist comments were posted to MP Naomi Long's Facebook page on Thursday.

They was posted shortly after it emerged Ms Lo would not be running for re-election in 2016.

A party spokesman said: "We can confirm several messages were received, which were subsequently passed to police for investigation."

Police are looking into "a number of complaints" of hate crime, confirmed a PSNI spokesman.

He added: "Due to those ongoing investigations it would not be appropriate to comment further."

Meanwhile, hundreds of Twitter and Facebook users have used the hashtag #IStandWithAnna to condemn racism in Northern Ireland:

#IStandWithAnna tweets

 

Further reading:

MLA 'feels unsafe in N Ireland'

Anna Lo: Outpouring of support for Alliance politician quitting over ongoing racist abuse 

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Muslim rant preacher: First Minister Peter Robinson moves to defuse Islam row

Peter Robinson: 'I wouldn't trust Muslims devoted to Sharia Law, but I would trust them to go down to the shops for me' 

If Pastor James McConnell was feeling under strain, he certainly wasn't showing it yesterday morning

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