A Derry man is fighting for his life following a spate of sectarian attacks surrounding the annual July 12th parades by the Protestant Orange Order.
The most serious incident took place on a barbecue in the Waterside area of Derry on Sunday.
The most seriously injured of three victims, a 29-year-old man, sustained head injuries after being attacked by a loyalist gang. One of his friends sustained a fractured jaw.
There were disturbances in the aftermath of the assault.
Tension throughout the North increased in the run up to ‘the Twelfth’ marches, with nationalists coming under attack from both PSNI police and sectarian gangs.
Houses in the Beechfield Street and Clandeboye area of Belfast’s Short Strand came under stoning attacks from gangs in unionist Cluan Place.
On the Twelfth morning a nine-year-old child was targeted by loyalists who threw a paint bomb at him, splattering him with paint, as he walked along the Whitewell Road. Earlier a 24-year-old nationalist was beaten by a loyalist gang in the same area.
Later, on the Ormeau bridge members of the Orange Order, wearing sashes, held up five finger salutes, to mock the five people murdered by loyalists in Grahams bookies on the Ormeau Road in 1992.
Meanwhile, a sick video has been made mocking the brutal sectarian murder of a 15-year-old boy in County Antrim earlier this year. The video shows footage of Michael McIlveen standing with friends and is subtitled with the words “F*ck Micky Bo”. The teenager was nicknamed Mickybo.
Michael McIlveen died on May 8, a day after being attacked and beaten by a group of people armed with baseball bats in Ballymena.
One section of the video shows a still picture of the teenager with the subtitled words: “Murder inquiry: please contact someone who gives a Fuck -- Three kicks to the head and I was dead hi ho hi ho -- Fuck Micky Bo.”
The words “Who killed Micky Bo” are followed by images associated with the unionist paramilitary UDA.
The video has been distributed around Ballymena via mobile phone. It contains scenes of a floral tribute laid outside the teenager’s home in the days after his death.
A man wearing a soccer jersey with the words “Fuck Micky Bo” emblazoned on the back features at the beginning of the video. A song accompanying the footage of the murdered teenager is a stream of sectarian obscenities.
Details of the sick film came to light after it had been sent to a Protestant friend of the dead teenager.
The emergence of the video came just days after loyalists had placed a Tricolour bearing the words “F*ck Mickey Bo” on an 11th night bonfire in Ahoghill, near Ballymena. It has since been revealed that local DUP councillor Roy Gillespie was seen helping to build the Ahoghill fire.
Other loyalist bonfires in Ballymena also carried mocking references to the murdered boy.
Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has described the mobile phone video mocking the murdered Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen “as offensive, nakedly sectarian and completely unacceptable”.
“Since the murder of young Michael there has been a determined effort by sections of the unionist community in Ballymena to demonise Michael and the community he came from,” he said. “This has involved slurs on his family and upbringing by DUP Councillor Davy Tweed and over the weekend a flag bearing his name appeared on a bonfire in Ahoghill.
“These are symptoms of the fact that many unionists in Ballymena are deeply sectarian and deeply anti-Catholic. These traits are encouraged and fostered by the political leadership provided by the DUP from the local MP Ian Paisley down. They resist at every turn basic demands for equality and respect from the nationalist community in the town.
“Videos like this do not happen by accident. Like the murder of Michael McIlveen in the first place they happen because of the conditions and environment created by civic leaders in the town. The DUP bear a heavy responsibility for the current situation in Ballymena and continuing denials by that party cut little ice with any nationalist in this area.”
In a further provocative display, a fire in Belfast’s Shankill Road was topped with black flags bearing the names of the 1981 Hunger Strikers.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the silence of unionist political leaders in relation to the majority of these incidents spoke volumes.
“In contrast Sinn Féin has proactively condemned attacks on Orange Order property. Such attacks are totally wrong. Sectarianism from whatever quarter is unacceptable and plays into the hands of the bigots.”