In one of a number of incidents related to parade tensions, loyalists marchers belonging to the Apprentice Boys of Derry staged a mob attack on an Irish bar in Liverpool last Saturday evening, June 10.
In a video taken by a passing motorist, a man was held in a headlock by one loyalist while being punched by others. The terrified driver filmed the men brawling on top of her car as violence erupted.
Trouble began when the Protestant marching group, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, passed the Liffey Irish bar in Renshaw Street.
The bar has been a regular target of loyalist intimidation and provocation in recent years.
Loyalist bands normally strike up sectarian tunes as they pass the bar, but in an escalation on Saturday, bandsmen and their followers attempted to enter the bar in a concerted attack. Merseyside police said they made two arrests.
In County Derry, a nationalist member of the Stormont Assembly said he had to dial 999 after his car was attacked by loyalists on Friday night.
East Derry SDLP representative John Dallat had gone to collect a Chinese takeaway on Main Street in Kilrea when he was spotted by people attending a band parade in the village.
Mr Dallat said a group came over an kicked his car after he had moved it during a break in the parade.
“I have lived through very bad times but this is the first time I felt the need to phone the emergency services to help me get away before worse happened,” he said.
GAA CLUB TARGETED
In County Antrim, a GAA club was targeted in a sectarian graffiti attack, the third in recent months.
The letters ‘UVF’ were scrawled on a wall at the entrance to St Mary’s GAA club in Rasharkin overnight on Thursday.
The loyalist slogan ‘No Surrender’ also appeared while a UVF flag was draped across the wall at the playing fields.
A mainly nationalist village, Rasharkin has been at the centre of a bitter parades dispute in recent years.
North Antrim Assembly member Philip McGuigan said more needed to be done to stop “these hate-filled sectarian attacks”.
“The people responsible are anti-Catholic, anti-Irish and anti-community but should not be allowed to succeed in raising tensions as is their intention.”
Meanwhile, nationalist residents in Portadown have warned the British government against any political deal that would allow the Orange Order to again hold a provocative march down the nationalist Garvaghy Road.
They were speaking after Portadown Orange lodge urged the new DUP-backed administration to place the parading issue high on their agenda. It said that it “trusted” that parading issues, especially in Portadown, would be high on the agenda for the new government.
Orangemen have been rerouted from the Garvaghy Road since 1998. The Portadown Orange Order were keen to point out the new influence of local DUP MP and prominent Orangeman, David Simpson.
There has been speculation that an agreement between the DUP and Conservative Party to keep Theresa May in power could include the abolition of the Parades Commission, which adjudicates on the routes of contentious parades.
Senior DUP figures hinted as much when they told journalists at a Westminster press conference: “The future is bright, the future is Orange”, reprising a familiar marketing slogan.
In one of the more contentious parades, hundreds of Orangemen marched through Belfast as part of the annual ‘Tour of the North’ parade on Friday night.
Around 800 people and 13 bands took part in the parade which passed St Patrick’s Catholic Church on Donegall Street - the scene of previous disorder. However the march, which is partially restricted, passed off without incident.
COUNCIL COLLUDES IN BONFIRE CRIME
In related news, it has emerged that Belfast City Council is storing pallets to be used for a notorious loyalist bonfire close to a busy tourist hotel.
The bonfire close to the Holiday Inn, just off the Sandy Row, has become emblematic of the ‘Eleventh Night’ in Belfast. For the past number of years, tourists have been terrified when the inferno blazes alongside the hotel and loyalist violence reaches a crescendo across the North.
Two tourist buses were damaged in a suspected loyalist arson attack outside the hotel last month.
Last month, Belfast City Council bizarrely decided to facilitate the bonfire by collecting and storing the bonfire material. Hundreds of pallets were removed from the city centre site by council employees and held in storage at a council facility to be delivered to the site in time for its construction.
After being accused of handling goods stolen from one company, they were forced to return the stolen pallets.
Sinn Fein councillor Jim McVeigh, the party’s council group leader, said it would strongly oppose any attempt to return the remaining pallets to the bonfire site.
“The council could be leaving itself open to a legal challenge from ratepayers on health and safety grounds by facilitating this bonfire if anyone is injured or property damaged as a result,” he said.
“The materials should not be put in storage. They should either be returned to their rightful owners or destroyed immediately.”