February 3, 2021
PSNI have serious questions to answer on UVF mob – Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said the PSNI has serious questions to answer about intimidation in East Belfast by a UVF mob.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on policing said:

“This week we have seen loyalist paramilitaries attempting to exploit tensions around Brexit to advance their regressive, racist and sectarian politics, as well as to exert control in communities.

“Yesterday afternoon, footage emerged of a group of 40 men linked to the UVF patrolling the streets of East Belfast.

“The PSNI attended the scene while the UVF mob were still roaming the community and made minimal efforts to intervene.

“It has been reported that the mob were preparing to attack a home and instead of challenging those involved the PSNI merely shepherded the gang out of the area.

“Throughout the duration of yesterday, the East Belfast UVF forced several families out of their homes and into refuge at a local community centre. 

“The community centre, which provides services and meals to local residents, has now also been forced to close today following threats made towards staff.

“Meaningful intervention and action from PSNI in the early stages of this UVF ‘show of strength’ could have prevented this escalation of events.

“The PSNI has serious questions to answer over its inadequate response to the initial incident in the Pitt Park area.

“Criminal gangs have no place in our society and I will call for urgent action to be taken by the PSNI in the upcoming Policing Board meeting to end the scourge of paramilitaries in communities.”

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