People Before Profit: Statement On Intimidation Of Activists In East Belfast

On Saturday 23rd April People Before Profit East Belfast candidate Hannah Kenny was physically assaulted and verbally abused whilst distributing election material in an estate in East Belfast.  

This incident took place on Saturday afternoon as our party activists were out around doors promoting our election message, in an area that—like many working class communities on both sides of the sectarian divide—has suffered decades of austerity and deprivation under Stormont. Hannah was approached by three men who subjected her to a terrifying ordeal, both sectarian and misogynistic in nature. They blocked her path, gripping her by the arm and throat before detailing the violence they would subject her to if she returned to the area.

In an election where we are standing candidates across Belfast, People Before Profit are outraged that one of our hardworking representatives has had to endure such a traumatic incident. Our members in East Belfast and across the city stand in solidarity with Hannah and want to make it clear that we will not be intimidated.

People Before Profit are out to break the dire legacy of sectarian politics, which has ravaged working class communities on all sides and left our most vulnerable people in desperation and poverty. No one in any of the hard-hit working class estates in East Belfast has anything to fear from People Before Profit: our party are absolutely committed to fighting your corner at every opportunity.

People Before Profit are in this for the long haul, and we regard no quarter of this city as ‘off limits’. The small minority engaged in intimidation have nothing to offer working people except continued division; at election time they will attempt to deliver such communities to the same sectarian parties who have exploited their vote for decades, offering nothing in return. They are ‘yesterday’s men’. Send them a clear message on May 5th.  

Hannah has said:

“I do not wish to dwell on the details of the incident other than to say I am deeply distressed at the level of aggression shown towards me for simply delivering election material. The fact that these men told me I had been identified from the election campaign posters in the area before going on to assault me has been deeply disturbing.

Unfortunately, there exists a minority intent on polarising this election along familiar lines; we have seen other election candidates attacked and threatened, with posters being damaged in various places. These aren’t just attacks on individuals like myself, they are attacks on the democratic process intended to take us backward.”

People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll added, “Our full support and solidarity is with Hannah after this shameful incident. Hannah is a hardworking and committed representative and I am deeply sorry she has had to endure such a despicable and cowardly attack. I am also extremely proud of Hannah’s work in putting herself forward to offer a voice for working class politics in East Belfast. I would call on everyone to reject this kind of thuggery and fight to consign it to the past.”