Northern Ireland

SF councillor claims woman assaulted at Ballymena march

A Sinn Fein councillor has claimed a woman in her late 50s was punched and thrown to the ground by marchers as she tried to cross a parade in Ballymena on Saturday.

Monica Digney said the woman was taken to hospital after the attack and has been left traumatised.

The police have confirmed that they are investigating a report that a woman was assaulted during Saturday's parade.

Ms Digney said she visited the woman following the attack.

"I was shocked at what I saw. This lady, who is almost 60-years-old and who suffers from ill health was trembling with fear and clearly traumatised by this frightening experience," she said.

"She had bruising to her face and her wrist and several fingers were heavily strapped."

Ms Digney said the woman was crossing the road near the junction of Broughshane Street and William Street when a gap appeared in the parade.

"She was grabbed by a man wearing a Black Institution sash who attempted to stop her.

"She managed to break free but as she reached the kerb she was grabbed by the coat and punched on the face by another male," she added.

"A third struck her as she fell to the ground and subjected her to a barrage of sectarian abuse.

"All three wore Black Institution regalia and were part of the parade."

Ms Digney said she will be asking for a meeting with the local PSNI commander to discuss the incident.

Thousands of members of the Royal Black Institution took part in parades on Saturday across Northern Ireland.

The last Saturday in August is traditionally the most important day in the Royal Black Institution's year.