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Police treating paint bomb on Battle of the Somme memorial as 'sectarian hate crime'

DUP MP claims the attack in Co Armagh was an attempt to ‘goad’ a reaction

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The Battle of the Somme memorial in Lurgan.

The Battle of the Somme memorial in Lurgan.

The Battle of the Somme memorial in Lurgan.

A memorial commemorating those who died in the Battle of the Somme was targeted in a paint bomb attack in Co Armagh on Thursday.

The PSNI have confirmed the incident is being treated as a "sectarian hate crime" and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

A tin of green paint was thrown over the memorial, which is situated along the Avenue Road in Lurgan, around 11pm.

Police were at the scene on Friday morning and it is understood those responsible were captured on CCTV in the area.

Upper Bann’s DUP MP Carla Lockhart said it was an attempt to “goad locals into a reaction”.

The memorial, which has been in place for a number of years, is maintained by the Avenue Road Somme Society.

The group described the attack as “sectarian”.

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“Once again the memorial on the Avenue Road is the easy target to another sectarian attack,” they wrote on Facebook.

“These people have nothing to offer society and have obviously no form of education to destroy this.

“There is also a memorial seat in the area for a past band member - how low can these people stoop?

“Paint washes off and is gone but we will continue to remember the men/women, British/Irish, protestant/catholic, black/white.

“We will continue to remember them.”

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/avenueroadsommesociety Once again the memorial on the avenue road is the easy...

Posted by Avenue Road Somme Society on Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ms Lockhart appealed for “calm heads” following the paint bombing.

“This is a disgusting attack last night on this historical mural,” she continued.

“This has been in situ for many years and is an easy target given its location.

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DUP MP Carla Lockhart

DUP MP Carla Lockhart

DUP MP Carla Lockhart

“This is not the first time this has happened but I know whilst angry about this loutish attack it will be restored again.

“Those who who attacked it are clearly trying to stoke tensions in the area.”

In a statement on Friday, PSNI Inspector Alwyn Peters explained a car was also damaged during the incident.

“Shortly before 9am this morning, we received a report that a paint bomb had been thrown at a Somme Memorial mural at the side of a property in the Avenue Road area," he said.

“This incident is currently treating it as a sectarian hate crime and I would appeal to anyone with any information about this incident or who may be able to help with the investigation, to contact us on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 318 16/04/21, or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport

“You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org”


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