TAGLIO AL PERCORDO DELLA PARATA DI RASHARKIN

Rabbia e disapprovazione per la decisione della Parades Commission di limitare l’annuale marcia di Rasharkin ad una sola strada.

La decisione è arrivata per evitare che la competizione, organizzata dalla Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band, potesse aveere le premesse per suscitare proteste come negli anni passati.
Lo scorso anno contro la banda che sfilava erano volate bottiglie, palline da golf e altri oggetti, nonostante la massiccia presenza di forze dell’ordine.
Risale a ieri la decisione del Parades Commission, giudice supremo per lo svolgimento delle parate in Nord Irlanda, che ha decretato il percorso che la marcia avrà nella sua trentesima edizione. E’ previsto, infatti, il passaggio dei lealisti solo tra la Main Street e Bridge Street.
Fino alla contestata decisione di quest’anno, il percorso prevedeva un tragitto più lungo che toccava anche Moneyleck Road, prima di ritornare lungo Main Street e Church Road.
La Rasharkin Residents’ Association si è già preparata alla protesta e ha chiesto l’autorizzazione per manifestare il loro dissenso tramite cinquecento partecipanti. La commissione ne permetterà, tuttavia,  l’afflusso di soli centocinquanta di contro ai centrotrenta dello scorso anno.
Mervyn Storey (DUP) ha giudicato negativamente la protesta dello scorso anno e l’organizzazione di quest’anno: “Questa decisione è uno scandalo, la Commissione adesso sembra voler premiare i comportamenti violenti. Lo scorso anno assistemmo a serie violenze e coloro che protestarono furono trecento. La Commissione dovrebbe dimettersi”
Il consigliere del DUP per Ballymoney, John Finlay ha detto: “La Commissione ha effettivamente ucciso l’annuale parata e rifiutato di difendere i diritti dei cittadini, rispettosi della legge, che vogliono
diversi e arricchire la propria cultura.”
Il portavoce del PUP per l’area, Ken Wilkinson ha definito la decisione della commissione “deplorabile”. L’impressione che emerge, secondo Wilkinson, è l’imposizione di restrizioni esclusivamente ai lealisti.
E’ atteso, per oggi, una dichiarazione ufficiale dell’organizzazione della banda.
Per lo Sinn Fein, il parlamentare del North Antrim, Daithi McKay ha salutato con entusiasmo le modifiche al tragitto della parata: “sono le benvenute tra la gente di Rasharkin”.
“L’intera  comunità necessita di collaborare per ridurre le tensioni con una settimana di anticipo, e mi appello agli organizzatori della parata per evitare che sfilino bande legate alla UVF e all’UDA, così come hanno dichiarato alla Commissione.”
Un portavoce per la Rasharkin Residents’ Association ha ammesso che intendono pianificare una “pacifica e dignitosa protesta” durante la parata.

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Anger as loyalist parade route cut (NewsLetter)
There is growing anger over a Parades Commission ruling to
restrict a long-running annual band competition in Rasharkin to just one street.
The event, to be hosted by the Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band next Friday, faced protests in the last two years.
Amid heavy security last year, bottles, golf balls and other items were thrown at the bands as they passed.
Yesterday the Parades Commission ruled that the event, which is in its 30th year, can only proceed to the junction of Main Street and Bridge Street.
The bands in previous years had paraded up Main Street, Bridge Street and Moneyleck Road before returning along Main Street and Church Road on the return route.
Rasharkin Residents’ Association originally applied for a protest with some 500 participants but the Parades Commission have ruled they are allowed 150. Last year the protest was allowed up to 130 including marshals.
DUP assembly member Mervyn Storey said the violence from the protesters at the parade last year was “severe”.
“This decision is an absolute scandal, the Parades Commission now seems to be in the business of rewarding violent behaviour.
“Last year we witnessed serious violence yet the Parades Commission
seems to think that that behaviour rather than be punished, should be
rewarded.
“Protestors last year also breached the numbers they were allowed with
300. The Parades Commission should resign en masse and hang their heads
in shame.”
Mr Storey said the band can appeal the decision but said what happens
next to up to them and only they can make that decision.
Ballymoney councillor John Finlay said: “The Parades Commission have
effectively killed this annual band parade and refused to uphold the
rights of law-abiding citizens who want to enjoy the enrichment oftheir culture.”
The Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band last night declined to comment on the determination.
However, a spokesman for the band said they may issue a statement later
today.
It is understood that attempts had been made behind the scenes to reach
agreement between the parade organisers and residents.
A figure close to the process, who did not wish to be named, said he was “devastated” by the ruling.
PUP spokesman for the area, Ken Wilkinson said: “The decision by the
Parades Commission is deplorable. This is a band who really goes out of its way to marshall the parade.”
Mr Wilkinson added that when he was talking to fellow loyalists last night about the decision, “they were all very very annoyed because it seems the restrictions imposed every time is on loyalism”.
North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay has said that the restrictions
which the Parades Commission have placed on the Ballymaconnelly parade will be “welcomed by people living in Rasharkin”.
“Everybody in this community needs to now work together to reduce tensions in the week ahead and I would appeal to the organisers of the parade not to allow bands linked to the UVF and UDA to march through the village as they have applied to do,” he said.
A spokesman for the Rasharkin Residents’ Association said they intend
to organise “a peaceful and dignified protest” during the parade adding that in the wake of the Parades Commission decision that “only local residents are involved in the protest”.
Tensions have been high in the north Antrim village with the Orange hall
repeatedly vandalised over the last two years and a number of Protestant residents attacked and intimidated.

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