Stormont MLA racially abused online

Stormont MLA racially abused online

Online racist abuse has been directed at Alliance Party MLA Anna Lo, after she made a call for the removal of flags and paramilitary murals from the Belfast route of the Giro d'Italia cycle race.

Ms Lo's suggestion followed an earlier proposal from the SDLP that election posters should be kept away from the route of the prestigious race when its opening stages are held in the city in May.DUP MP Sammy Wilson has branded the idea "ill-considered and utterly unwise".He claims it would mean spectators would be unable to wave flags to support cyclists taking part and that asking the police to take down emblems was "a recipe for injured officers and days of unrest".But some of the responses to the issue from the public on Twitter and Facebook descended into racist attacks on Ms Lo.Speaking on UTV Live tonight, Ms Lo described the comments about her as "very racist and vile" and "totally unacceptable".All I wanted was to raise a very serious issue here in Northern Ireland about how we should deal with flags flying on our lamp-posts, murals with gunmen holding machine guns - those are not images we want to world to see during the race in May.Anna Lo, Alliance MLAShe added: "Other parties agree that the election posters should come down, and we said we should take a further step to deal with this, we need to use this opportunity to ask ourselves why we want those murals."The Hong Kong-born MLA's party colleague Stewart Dickson said he was disgusted by the comments."Nobody deserves to be the victim of racist abuse. Racism, like other forms of prejudice and hatred, should be stamped out," he said."It appears that many of the cowardly perpetrators have now taken down their vile racist posts, but I will still be asking the police to investigate these comments with a view to taking action."According to a PSNI spokesman, a report has been made regarding such abuse being directed towards an individual and police enquiries are ongoing.Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was among those on Twitter who spoke out against the racism.On Tuesday night, the DUP Party tweeted: "Racist comments or behaviour against anyone should always be condemned. Such comments against elected representatives are disgraceful."Racist abuse directed at our MLA colleague Anna Lo is shameful & unacceptable & needs to be unreservedly condemned by all. #istandwithAnna.— Martin McGuinness (@M_McGuinness_SF) February 18, 2014

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