Sunday Life

Tensions high after flashpoint clashes

By Sinead McCavanagh
05 September 2004

POLICE were last night monitoring a north Belfast flashpoint after rival gangs clashed early yesterday morning.

Cops were studying CCTV footage after reports that two people were assaulted during the disturbances on Whitewell Road, around 2.50am.

Police were called to the area in the early hours of yesterday morning, after reports of nationalists and loyalists clashing.

Tensions in the area were heightened further by the staging of a loyalist parade, yesterday afternoon.

The march, involving 32 bands, was held in memory of Whitewell teenager, Thomas McDonald, who was knocked down and killed by a Catholic driver, after he threw a brick at her car, in 2001.

The parade passed off without major incident.

But loyalists in the White City area were fearful of more trouble last night, following the alleged assaults, according to a local councillor.

Tommy Kirkham, of the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group, claimed there had been "ongoing attacks" against Protestants for several months.

"The intimidation and attacks are a deliberate attempt to drive Protestants from this area," he said.

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