Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Viewpoint: Mob rule indefensible

Shocking, disgusting and completely indefensible. That will be the reaction to the return of so-called tarring and feathering to the streets of Belfast.

Now a practice that all rational people had thought consigned to the dustbin of history has suddenly reared its ugly head again.

Once common in the 1970s, it resurfaced briefly in 2003 when two teenagers were attacked in Ardoyne by republicans and again a year later in attacks by loyalists.

The UPRG, which lends 'political advice' to the UDA, has said that the weekend attack was not carried out by the paramilitary organisation. Nevertheless, it is clear from comments made to the media that the UPRG supports 'community action' of this kind.

The only principle that the URPG should be supporting is the principle of the rule of law. If an accusation is made against any person, it should be investigated by the police and, if evidence exists, he or she should be brought before the courts.

The man attacked at the weekend is innocent until proven guilty, whether members of the local community accept that or not.

'Community action' is a completely misleading phrase. Tarring and feathering is simply the rule of the mob - and that is unacceptable in any society.

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