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Unionists attack Belfast's lord mayor at park re-opening

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Belfast's republican lord mayor was attacked by loyalists Tuesday when he opened a park in Northern Ireland's capital, police said.

Mairtin O Muilleoir was treated at a hospital for bruises, the Belfast Telegraph reported. He said he was kicked by protesters in Woodvale, a unionist stronghold where he was to preside at the re-opening of a park.

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The protesters also clashed with police.

O Muilleoir described his attackers as a "small minority" in the neighborhood and "yesterday's men," a throwback to the era of sectarian violence. There was rioting in Woodvale in July over the Parades Commission's decision to move the route of a loyalist parade.

"When the lord mayor gets invites there must be no 'no go' areas in Belfast," he said.

"I want to be mayor for all the people."

Northern Ireland has seen a recent uptick in violence. The decision by the Belfast City Council to limit the number of days the British flag is flown at City Hall set off large and often angry demonstrations by unionists, while attacks by dissident republican groups appear to have risen.

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