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Rice condemns racist loyalist display

August 8, 2002 12:00 AM

Alliance South Belfast representative Councillor Geraldine Rice has condemned a display of far right symbols by loyalist paramilitaries near Tate's Avenue bridge.

Cllr Rice said that a display of flags had been joined by a painted swastika and the initials 'KKK' close to Adelaide railway halt in South Belfast. The flags were removed on Tuesday afternoon, but the extremists' symbolism remains.

Cllr Rice, who highlighted the problem of racist graffiti in Carryduff recently, said it demonstrated the racist attitude and political ignorance of the Ulster Young Militants (the youth wing of the UDA), who are believed to be behind the graffiti.

Cllr Rice said: "I suspect the swastika and use of the Ku Klux Klan's name are more in tune with the far-right leanings of the UYM than their recent hijacking of the Israeli flag. There have been reports recently suggesting that far right groups in England, such as Combat 18, were less than pleased when they heard about the Israeli flag flying in loyalist areas, so perhaps they are trying to redress the balance as they see it.

"Instead, these young men have demonstrated exactly how ignorant and politically immature they are. The KKK is well known for its extreme racism, while the swastika is associated with Nazism. To paint these symbols beside various UK flags is grossly offensive, not just to Belfast's Jewish and black communities, but also to those ex-servicemen and women who served in World War II and the community as a whole.

"This is as contradictory as it is bizarre, given the place battles such as the Somme have within loyalism. I would call upon the UDA or UYM to remove these grotesque displays as soon as possible, before they embarrass themselves any further."

Note: The 'KKK' initials have been painted on walls in other parts of Northern Ireland, and have been seen in Ballymena.

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