From Friday 24th August until Sunday 26th August, a total of five unionist parades will take place with over 3,000 participants and 50 bands taking over the streets of Newry, beginning with the sectarian South Down Defenders Flute Band who will be bussing in thousands of unionist bandsmen and supporters into the overwhelmingly nationalist city from across the Six Counties for a sectarian coat-trailing exercise.
Stephen Murney, the local spokesperson for the socialist republican party in the Newry area, said “Just last month we had thousands of unionists accompanied by dozens of bands descending on Newry leaving the area a virtual ghost town. Band members and participants shouted insults at local people observing and even rushed to attack a local photographer.
“A massive security operation sealed Newry off and most people couldn’t go about their daily business. I have no doubt that this upcoming sectarian ritual will mean the same for the nationalist people of Newry".
Murney continued “Before and after the 12th July our party were inundated with complains from local people who are sick and tired of this happening time and time again. The fact that this next disruptive demonstration will take place over a three day period will mean that many nationalist people in Newry will have to endure an entire weekend of sectarian intimidation and bigotry.
“The annual Friday night sectarian procession is well known for bringing Newry to a standstill for several hours with severe traffic disruption; unionists drinking openly in the street, actually outside Ardmore PSNI barracks; the playing of sectarian songs; bands displaying the emblems and flags of unionist paramilitary death squads and nationalists afraid to look out of their windows or venture onto their own streets.
Stephen concluded “Newry will once again be handed over to the bigots, we in éirígí deeply oppose such sectarian rituals and we call for an end to sectarian organisations being permitted to proceed through overwhelmingly nationalist towns such as Newry”.