Children as young as six subjected to sectarian abuse in west Belfast

The interface between the Suffolk Estate and Lenadoon facing Woodbourne police station. Picture Mal McCann.
Guest Newsdesk

Schoolboys - some as young as six - have subjected to sectarian abuse while taking part in a Boys Brigade parade in west Belfast.

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast Brian Kingston said that members of the Boys Brigade were subject to "appalling" abuse by motorists and passers by.

Most of boys from the 17th Belfast Boys Brigade Company are of primary school age.

A mother of one of the children posted on Facebook that grown men had shouted at her son and others and that cars bumped their horns and revved their engines to drown out the young band as the children paraded towards the small Suffolk estate.

"I teach my son to be open to everyone and show no kind of bitterness", the mother said.

"The kids kept walking with their heads high and that's why they will turn out to be the better people" she added.

They children were walking from St John's Church of Ireland on the Stewartstown Road on Sunday morning to walk the 200 yards past Woodbourne PSNI station to the small estate.

Police were present during the incident and had stopped traffic to allow the children's parade to pass.

Mr Kingston said some motorists winding down car their windows to shout abuse at the children saying those who took part were a "disgrace and should be ashamed of themselves".

"I will be raising what happened with the PSNI. The whole of the short procession took place outside the largest PSNI station in West Belfast, but I'm not at all happy with the way the PSNI handled things," Alderman Kingston said.

Earlier this year the Irish News reported how residents of the small, mainly Protestant estate were coming under attack from gangs of youths who were using the Glider service to travel to the interface and cause nightly disturbances.

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