Stormont MLA racially abused online

Published Tuesday, 18 February 2014
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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.

Stormont MLA racially abused online
Anna Lo, who is an Alliance Party MLA for south Belfast. (© Pacemaker)

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 MLA

She 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."

© UTV News
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32 Comments
Gerard K in Belfast wrote (242 days ago):
Tony in Ballymena, I have a headache thanks to you! It took me over an hour with a staff of 40 to decipher that mess you posted. Every single sentence needed read at least 5 times. I am away for a drink now to recover, you should be away to school.
Johnny in Belfast wrote (243 days ago):
Anyone else lose interest in tony from ballymena post after the first line?? I spotted four spelling mistakes alone on that one line have people no shame?
cripcantstandidiots in australia wrote (243 days ago):
I'm so embarrassed by the treatment of Anna,I have many,many friends who I disagree with politically,Irish,British,all born in Ireland,(northern) wise up,how many would lay there life down for THEIR flag,the country of each flag is run by politicians!!! all out to make money!! of your nonsense.get rid of all flags from trouble zones everywhere.
john in crumlin wrote (243 days ago):
so tony in ballymena by reading your post i see you all for the maze project to go ahead after all its part of our history and you wouldn't be offended going to a museum?
Dee in Newtownabbey wrote (243 days ago):
Just read Tony in Ballymena's post. Dear Lord this is what civilised society is up against. God help us all.
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