Police in Coleraine are asking people to play their part in easing tensions in Coleraine.
The appeal comes as a member of Killowen LOL 930 was attacked following the Lodge’s annual Battle of the Somme commemoration parade in Coleraine last Tuesday night.
Brethren of the Lodge have told The Coleraine Times that had it not been for the prompt actions of local residents, the man’s injuries could have been more serious. They have also called for anyone with information on the incident to come forward.
In a statement Killowen LOL said: “Killowen L.O.L. 930 and Coleraine District Lodge utterly condemn the attack on a local orangeman as he returned home from The Annual Battle of the Somme parade on the 1st July 2014.
“We would appeal to all responsible citizens in the community to pass any information regarding the attack to the appropriate authorities.
“A brilliant sunny evening on the 1st July when Killowen LOL 930 held the Annual Battle of the Somme Commemoration Memorial Service was marred when one of the members of the lodge was viciously attacked near his home, whilst checking on his elderly mother.
“He was taken to hospital, after he was knocked unconscious by a crowd who appeared to be alcohol-fuelled and intent on some sort of revenge as the parade had finished some time earlier.
“But for the brave intervention of neighbours he could have suffered more serious injuries. The unprovoked attack took place after the parade had finished and the member was on his way to ensure his elderly mother was safe.
“This is becoming an all too commonplace occurrence, especially after band parades or Orange Order parades, in this area.
“There are those in the local community who see fit to launch unprovoked attacks on innocent people going about their lawful business. This is not the first time that such unprovoked attacks have taken place, causing great concern amongst the residents of this area.”
Police have confirmed that eight people have been questioned in relation to public disorder offences that took place during the Battle of the Somme parade.
A 26-year-old female, a 36-year-old man and a 47-year-old man have been charged with disorderly behaviour in relation to an incident in Pates Lane.
They are due to appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday 28th July
A 27-year-old female has been charged with disorderly behaviour, assault on police, resisting police and provocative behaviour and will appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Wednesday 6th August
Two 17-year-old males, a 19-year-old and an 18-year-old male have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
On Friday Coleraine PSNI Inspector Ian Armour called on the community to play their part in easing tensions. He said: “I am asking people to play their individual and collective roles in helping police to keep communities safe across the summer months.
“Last Tuesday night was a tense time in certain parts of Coleraine and police took a proactive policing approach. More arrests arising from the disorder on Tuesday night are expected to follow. Police have also increased patrols throughout Coleraine to help keep people safe.
“The proactive approach will continue and the law will be enforced in a robust manner. I ask that people use common sense and make decisions that benefit all communities within Coleraine. “
PUP councillor Russell Watton has condemned the attack.
“This is just the latest in a litany of attacks and intimidation by a gang of self styled republican criminals and drug dealers who have terrorised the area for years. the prompt arrest of a number of suspects, whilst lessening tensions, is not a long term solution. The PUP therefore hope to meet senior PSNI personel over the next fortnight.
DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan branded those responsible for the attack ‘thugs’ saying that their ‘only aim is to raise tensions in the Killowen and Heights area.’ He added: “Thankfully a number of people have been charged following the disorder, maybe this will send out a message to others that this will not be tolerated.”