Wednesday 13 December 2017

Police investigate after Minister hurt by police vehicle after Belfast parade

Lesley-Anne McKeown

THE Police Ombudsman is investigating after a Sinn Fein Minister was injured by a police vehicle during a contentious parade in Belfast.

Caral Ni Chuilin, the Stormont Culture Minister, was hurt trying to help her party colleague, Gerry Kelly MLA, who had tried to stop a moving Police Service of Northern Ireland Land Rover during scuffles in the Peters Hill area.

Both representatives were at a protest by nationalist residents opposed to the annual Orange Order Tour of the North parade.

In a statement, Mr Kelly claimed the PSNI actions were reckless and dangerous.

He said: "The driver moved the Land Rover into me, forcing to hold on to a security grille on the vehicle when they drove off at speed, taking me with them for a considerable distance.

"The group of people who had gathered tried to stop the jeep for my safety and Caral Ni Chuilin was injured in the process and has since been taken to hospital.

"These action were dangerous, reckless and provocative. This is no way to deal with anyone, let alone elected representatives seeking to restore calm to an area in an already tense situation."

Up to 1,000 people took part in the Orange Order parade through north Belfast.

Two people were arrested during the disturbances in the Peters Hill area which police described as minor.

In a statement the PSNI said the incident had been referred to the ombudsman's office.

"The incident involving Mr Gerry Kelly and Ms Caral Ni Chuilin at Peters Hill tonight has been referred to the office of the Police Ombudsman and they are investigating," a spokesman said.

Press Association

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