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Sinn Fein Gerry Kelly being carried on the bonnet of a police jeep Photo by: An Phoblacht

Sinn Féin describe PSNI as "reckless" after a minister was injured following Belfast parade

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Sinn Fein Gerry Kelly being carried on the bonnet of a police jeep Photo by: An Phoblacht

Sinn Féin representatives have called the PSNI "reckless" after Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín had to be taken to the hospital after an incident with a police land rover in the Carrick Hill area in the north of Belfast following a contentious parade in the city on Friday night.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly was also at the scene which followed the Orange Order's annual Tour of the North parade.

UTV
reports that the parade, which began at 7pm, passed through the nationalist area, with around 1,000 marchers and 15 bands taking part.

Police said the march was "largely peaceful." However, a small number of nationalist youths tried to run through the bands as they made their way up Peter's Hill.

The police sealed off part of the area in an attempt to keep rival groups apart.

Kelly said he was made aware that a teenager had been arrested and was inside a police land rover. The MLA for north Belfast said he spoke to the officer driving the vehicle, who indicated he would pull over so they could speak with the teen's parents.

Instead the officer drove off - an action which the politician said "annoyed the crowd and I have to say it annoyed me".

"I was there as an elected representative, a member of the Policing Board, and I was told lies. I don't like that."

"I then stood in front of the fourth jeep and demanded to see whoever was in charge. At that stage he rolled the jeep into me.

"I held on to the grill to get my balance because I near fell over. When I held on to the grill he drove off.

"It felt like a lot longer but I suppose he drove maybe 20 yards down the road," he added.

Mr Kelly said his party colleague, Ms Ní Chuilín, was injured after she came to help him.

"Carál had run after the jeep and got injured as a matter of the jeep hitting her as well. She's got torn ligaments in her shoulder."

A PSNI spokesperson has said the disturbance will be investigated by the Police Ombudsman, but Sinn Féin representatives say they are very angry over the incident.

Ms Ní Chuilín said: "I got injured when the jeep was driving off and we are very, very lucky there aren't more serious injuries if not worse in this community.... I was hit by the jeep.

"There was a bit of recklessness here last night by some of the police in those jeeps. That's not conduct befitting of PSNI and we will certainly be challenging it."

Kelly added: "What I'm very annoyed at is the driver of this jeep, and whoever was in charge of him doing something which he should not have done.

"It's bad policing. It does knock things back in this area."

Said Nelson McCausland, DUP MLA for the area: "It was particularly disappointing when of them is a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board."

"But obviously this will now have to be investigated fully by the police."

He added: "I think it's inappropriate for politicians to interfere with policing in that sort of way.

"We should respect law and order and that should simply not be on the agenda for any politician."

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