Sinn Fein brand attack on Tiger's Bay bonfire 'sectarian' as leaders call for calm

Sinn Féin have branded a petrol bomb attack on a loyalist bonfire in Tiger's Bay 'sectarian', as leaders have called for calm amidst a rise in tensions leading up to the twelfth.

The bonfire, which is close to the interface between Tiger's Bay and the New Lodge in North Belfast, was attacked by a group of youths with petrol bombs.

The police have branded the attack a hate crime, and Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ni Chuilín called the attack "dangerous and wrong".

"Anyone who brings petrol bombs onto a street has one intent in mind," Ni Chuilín said, "and that's to cause harm.

"Sectarianism needs called out for what it is."

Local DUP councillor Dean McCullogh said that a 6-year-old child and his mother witnessed the attack, and that a teenager was splashed with petrol.

"Some of the petrol bombs did ignite", added Mr McCullogh, "and in the aftermath the children were traumitised."

Both sides agreed that interventions by youth workers were crucial to calming the situation in the aftermath of the attack.

Cllr McCullogh said that the Tiger's Bay community felt "under attack" and Mrs Ni Chuilín said that residents in New Lodge feel "really really anxious" after Thursday night's incident.

The bonfire in Tiger's Bay has been at the centre of previous legal wrangling - with last-minute calls being made for the bonfire to be moved backwards. Those who built the bonfire are resisting these calls but stress they are open to engagement.

They have asked for nearby peace gates to stay closed until after the 11th.

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