Alliance Leader on Belfast City Council, Naomi Long MLA, has said that a report by human rights advisers to the Policing Board on police conduct during post-parade riots this summer proves Unionist attacks on the PSNI were totally unjustifiable.
The East Belfast Assembly member stated: “This report clearly illustrates that Unionist attempts to blame the police for this summer’s riots were nothing but a desperate act by desperate people. The blame lies clearly with the rioters and with the rioters alone.
“Let us repeat what the report says: ‘The human rights of paraders and their supporters, protesters, residents, police officers and the military were taken into account at all stages of the planning process and the senior command responsible for both operations reacted to the changing circumstances of the operations as events unfolded with care and diligence’.
“This is a clear vindication of the police position, as the Alliance Party stated at the time, and I now challenge Unionist political leaders to admit, openly and clearly, that they were utterly wrong.
“Unionists need to face up to the fact that those responsible for the destruction of they deprived communities they represent come primarily from within. It is no good blaming other political parties, the government or the police. What happened during the summer was a disgraceful attempt by Unionist politicians to shift the responsibility for the rioting on to the
police. This attempt was totally feeble and unjustifiable.
“The people of Northern Ireland now have a clear political choice. Are they going to go the route of permanent responsibility shirking, or are they going to stand up for democracy and the rule of law? There is only one party they can trust to do the latter, and that is Alliance.”