Belfast Telegraph

Solidarity vigil held after New Lodge violence

A vigil is held for residents of New Lodge in Belfast after a week of unrest in the area
A vigil is held for residents of New Lodge in Belfast after a week of unrest in the area

By Aoife Moore

A solidarity vigil organised by Sinn Fein has been held in New Lodge after days of unrest there.

The rally, which was attended by hundreds of people, took place on Victoria Parade to "show support for the community following the disgraceful scenes of last week", Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said.

The republican area in Belfast has seen violent clashes over the last week arising from the construction of an illegal bonfire ahead of the anniversary of the introduction of the controversial policy of internment without trial of suspected republican paramilitaries in 1971.

The violence culminated on the night the bonfire was lit, with several stabbings, one of which left a teen with a punctured lung.

"Sinn Fein has organised tonight's event to show support for the residents of the New Lodge who have borne the brunt of anti-social activity associated with the bonfire that took place last week," Ms Ni Chuilin said.

"The subsequent scenes of lawlessness, including vicious stabbings and physical assaults, were disgraceful and an affront to this proud community.

"Sinn Fein has always stood foursquare with the New Lodge community. We have spoken to the statutory agencies and residents before and after the bonfire and there will be further dedicated discussions in the coming days to ensure there is never any repeat of the intimidation which residents endured last week," she added.

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