‘Race hate’ parade cancelled

A parade seen by residents as racial intimidation has been called off after talks between the ‘Pride of the Raven’ loyalist band and representatives of the Chinese community in south Belfast.

Intense pressure had grown for the band parade, organised following a dispute and alleged threats against Chinese community representatives, to be cancelled.

Organisers said they had withdrawn their application to march on the Donegall Pass on Saturday after a meeting with Anna Lo, an Alliance Party member of the Belfast Assembly.

The parade was organised after Mrs Lo sent a letter to the flute band leader George Spence on behalf of a female constituent, who had been detained by a previous parade and had asked for greater notification of traffic disruption by the band’s activities.

The Parades Commission controversially gave permission for the parade to go ahead despite evidence that its sole function was to intimidate the Chinese community in the area.

However, the parade was prevented from marching past a number of Chinese restaurants and residences. In making its determination the parades body concluded: “The commission would question the logic of taking this particular parade into this area if it is not an attempt to intimidate those from the Chinese community living in the area.”

In a statement confirming the decision to call off the parade, the group denied it was racist and attempting to cause disruption on the streets in the run-up to Christmas. The band also criticised the Parades Commission decision to limit the route.

“We look forward to the day soon when parades are not subject to the prejudice of such a discredited, ineffective and malicious body,” the group said.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News