'Racist' leaflet drop leads to heated exchanges among Belfast city councillors
Heated words were exchanged at a meeting of Belfast City Council after a councillor appeared to defend a "racist" leaflet drop that police are treating as a hate crime.
The leaflet was put through letterboxes in the Ravenhill Road area of the city last week and purported to be from a group called 'Generation Sparta'.
The leaflet warned against the 'Islamification' of Northern Ireland and contained several racist messages. One called for Catholics and Protestants to unite against the "common threat" of "fanatical Islamists". Police have confirmed they are treating the leaflet drop as a hate crime.
The topic was brought up in the council chamber on Monday night by Alliance councillor David Armitage.
"Now there are leaflets being delivered by race hate groups, by fascist, racist groups with links to Britain First. This disgusts me and a lot of people in my community," he said.
Independent councillor Jolene Bunting, who is associated with Britain First and has previously spoken at a rally in Belfast organised by the group, defended the distribution of the leaflets.
"I believe they [the leaflets] were information. It may not have been put in the most helpful way, but people in this city need to know information about all faiths in society," she said,
"If those faiths aren't going to interact with people in this city, then people will take what they want from what's in the public and online."