Belfast Telegraph

People Before Profit hold rally urging Arlene Foster to step down as First Minister

Protests have taken place in Belfast and Londonderry urging First Minister Arlene Foster to step down.

The rallies - organised by socialist party People Before Profit - came after a stormy week for Ms Foster which culminated in her former ministerial colleague Jonathan Bell making a series of shocking allegations in an interview with BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan on Thursday evening.

West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll addressed the protesters at Belfast City Hall this evening as activists waved "Ulster Says Go" placards.

In Londonderry, People Before Profit's other MLA, Eamonn McCann addressed a crowd at the Guild Hall.

"We believe there has to be a confrontation not just with Arlene Foster, but with the entire political system,” he said.

"Really, politics are based on class. They are based upon the fact that the better off you are, the warmer you are going to be. I would love to get rid of Arlene Foster but then I would love to get rid of the whole lot of them as well.

"Why should anyone accept austerity when money is literally burned away by people who are living in warm conditions already."

The rally came shortly before deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness released a statement calling for Ms Foster to step aside while an investigation is carried out.

McGuinness calls for Foster to stand aside over RHI scandal 

On Friday afternoon the SDLP has attained the 30 signatures needed to bring forward its motion to the Assembly to suspend First Minister Arlene Foster for six months.

SDLP's motion to exclude Arlene Foster for six months gains 30 signatures 

The DUP has released a statement rejecting these calls for Mrs Foster to stand aside.

"The First Minister will not be stepping aside, but instead is focused on ensuring the full facts about this issue emerge and proposals are brought forward which can make a significant reduction in the future financial burden the Executive would face," a statement read.

"The First Minister does not take her instructions from Sinn Fein, but from the electorate.”

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