Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Lord Mayor leads prayer vigil at City Hall for victims of Middle East conflict

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

The Lord Mayor of Belfast has led a multi-denominational prayer vigil in the grounds of Belfast City Hall for victims of conflict in the Middle East and across the world.

Around 500 people attended the ‘prayer vigil for peace in our world’ service on Wednesday evening, which was addressed by chaplains representing a range of faiths - Methodist, Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i, Church of Ireland, Hindu, Presbyterian, Buddhist and Catholic.

Nichola Mallon said: “I am very pleased people made the effort to come out

“I made a real attempt to make this as inclusive as possible and I am delighted at the range of people here.

“We had a very dignified peace vigil to stand in solidarity with all of those who are suffering.

“This is a humanitarian appeal, a message, it’s not about politics.”

Dee Gardner from Cookstown was among a handful of people carrying Palestinian flags who were denied entry to the event, as a sign on City Hall gates had indicated people would not be allowed to display flags or emblems “in order to show respect to all and to minimise the risk of causing offence to anyone”.

“I am here to stand up to show the humanitarian issue of world peace for Gaza and what is happening out in Palestine,” she said.

“This flag is being seen as sectarian. I wanted to go in an attend the prayer vigil. I will be complaining to City Council.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly unveiled a new mural at Brompton Park in Ardoyne last night, also at 7pm, to express solidarity with the people of Gaza.

A group of pro-Palestine demonstrators has removed what they described as Israeli-linked products from the shelves of a supermarket in Belfast.

The activists, unhappy with the recent bloodshed in Gaza, filled trolleys with a number of items including soft drinks made by the Coca Cola company at Sainsbury’s supermarket in west Belfast on Tuesday evening.

Protesters in the Kennedy Centre store carried Palestinian flags and shouted “Free Palestine” during the incident.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed it had received a report of a protest at the Kennedy centre at around 7pm on Tuesday.

No arrests were made and no complaint has been received from Sainsbury’s at this stage.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman: “We are a non-political organisation and source our own brand products according to the ability of the producer to meet our quality, safety and ethical standards.

“We give our customers the opportunity to make their own decisions by labelling our own brand products clearly and accurately.”

Belfast demonstrators remove 'Israeli' goods from shelves of Sainsbury's in protest over Gaza 

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