Belfast Telegraph

Show of support for Catalonia vote on Derry walls angers DUP

By Leona O’Neill

The DUP has hit out at young republicans who lit up Londonderry’s historic walls in a show of support for the people of Catalonia.

On Saturday night Derry Republican Youth lit up a section of the walls facing the Bogside in red and yellow, the colours of the Catalan flag.

DUP councillor David Ramsey branded their action a ‘disgrace’ and demanded an apology be sent to the Spanish government.

“The city’s walls are probably our biggest tourist asset,” he said. “And we are involving our tourism assets in something of another country that we probably don’t know enough about. We are seen to be supporting something that goes against what a lot of people think in Spain.

“We are embroiling ourselves in something that is being deemed illegal, which is a major issue for us. We have a lot of Spanish visitors who I’m sure will not be pleased. Because, although it’s a small number of people who were involved in the protest, it is still seen worldwide with the lighting up of this worldwide tourist attraction that we are supporting something that is illegal and undemocratic.

“It’s a very dangerous thing to be doing because it doesn’t represent this city. It is a disgrace.

“I would, however, like to say that there is no way that I support the actions of the Spanish police. It is totally wrong. It has proven not to have worked in the past. We all thought that governments had learned from the past.”

Sinn Fein held demonstrations in solidarity with Catalonia last night at Belfast City Hall and Free Derry Corner.

Party leader Gerry Adams praised the efforts of the Catalan government and citizens to hold a referendum.

He also condemned as “undemocratic and counter-productive” the violence being used by the Spanish authorities against peaceful citizens.

“The widespread scenes of violence being used by Spanish authorities today, including the use of plastic bullets, must be condemned,” he said.

“The European Union cannot stand aside and allow EU citizens to be denied their right to vote.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also condemned the violence. He said: “I am completely horrified at the disgraceful scenes of violence and oppression we are seeing on the streets of Catalonia against civilians.

“No matter what position anyone has on whether the vote in Catalonia is legal or not, violence from the Spanish police cannot be condoned.”

However, TUV leader Jim Allister said there could be “no selectivity on the issue of crushing democratic expression”.

“What is happening in Catalonia is unseemly and disturbing, but some of those crying the loudest should examine their own attitude to the democratic Brexit vote here in the UK. Others, like Sinn Fein, who used to justify their IRA attacking polling stations are just hypocrites,” he claimed.

“In Spain, a vote is rejected before it is even cast, but in the UK Remoaners have devoted themselves to crushing the already expressed vote of Brexit.

“The Spanish version may be more brutal, but disrespecting the Brexit vote is also an undemocratic travesty.”

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