Masked men use ladder to take down Sinn Fein vote posters
A Sinn Fein MLA has called on the DUP to make clear its opposition to loyalist paramilitary groups after masked men last night removed the republican party's election posters.
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Caral Ni Chuilin said Sinn Fein complained to police after the banners were taken down on Belfast's Oldpark Road.
She added: "Only last week, the UDA threatened members of the Ulster Unionist Party simply because the party had indicated it might field a candidate in the election in North Belfast.
"Those threats were made only days before the UUP said it would not enter the contest, giving a clear run to the DUP."
The incident came after Sinn Fein contacted the police on Monday about "vile posters erected by loyalists" in the Shankill Road area, attacking the party's North Belfast Westminster candidate John Finucane, his family "and the memory of his father Pat, who was murdered by a UDA death squad colluding with the state".
Ms Ni Chuilin said that in the latest incident, "men with their faces covered mounted a ladder to remove Sinn Fein election posters from the Oldpark Road".
"Our party has made a complaint to the police about this criminal act of theft," she added.
"A pattern of threats and intimidation is emerging in this contest and this latest action is another sinister attempt to derail the democratic process.
"There is a responsibility for these threats and attempts to demonise John Finucane to be condemned across the board and a duty on the police to take these actions seriously.
"It's time for the DUP to make it clear it supports without any equivocation the democratic process and to put distance between itself and active loyalist paramilitary groups engaged in intimidation and threats to kill."