[Sinn Fein]

20th June 2000

UFF threat to Catholics

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has described today's threat by the UFF to attack Catholics living in interface areas as ``a matter of grave concern'' and he has appealed for vigilance. Mr McLaughlin said:

``These threats are part of a campaign to force nationalists to accede to Orange Order demands to march through nationalists areas. They are also part part of a wider internal loyalist battle over territorial control. The wholesale intimidation of Catholics has seen scores of families forced from their homes. For example, the UDA in North Belfast has engaged in a campaign of organised intimidation which has seen the numbers of Catholics families liiving in the Greymount area drop from 100 to only 12

``Residents living in the Lanark Way area involved in a peaceful protest against marches through their area are now being threatened with death threats by the UDA/UFF. The Parades Commission must now reverse their decision to force a march through the area in light of this threat to local residents. This UFF statement makes a nonsense of their so-called cessation.

``This is an attempt by the UDA to heighten tensions in interface areas in the lead-up to the marching season. I call on nationalists in these areas and indeed across the North in the days and weeks ahead to remain vigilant.''

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