PSNI urged to take action 'sooner rather than later' after Newtownards Ku Klux Klan stunt

Police are treating the reports of people dressing as Ku Klux Klan members in Newtownards as a hate incident

POLICE have been urged to take action "sooner rather than later" against the group of people who dressed as Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members and posed outside an Islamic prayer house in Co Down.

More than a week after images emerged on social media of at least eight individuals dressed as members of the far-right group in Newtownards, no arrests have been made by police.

The footage is understood to have been taken on October 27 on Greenwell Street, just a few doors away from the Bangladesh Islamic Centre, and showed the group marching through the town in KKK regalia and brandishing crosses.

The KKK was a group based in the southern United States which was responsible for lynchings and mob attacks on black people.

The incident was reported to police on October 28 and a PSNI spokesperson said at the time it was being treated as a hate incident.

But more than a week later and no-one has been arrested.

However, it is understood police have identified the individuals responsible and arrests could be imminent.

But a PSNI spokesman last night would only say that "enquiries are continuing and police would appeal to anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact police in Newtownards".

There was huge anger after the images emerged with the Belfast Islamic Centre describing how the small Muslim community in Newtownards had been left shaken by the incident.

But Alliance assembly member Kellie Armstrong last night called on police to take urgent action in a bid to instil community confidence.

"I appreciate that the police are taking the matter very seriously," she said.

"But in order to give the community confidence, action is needed by the police sooner rather than later.

"I know that the Muslim community in Newtownards has been heartened to see the support is out there for them following this.

"But the community needs to see that action is being taken."

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