A Stormont candidate was taken by the throat in a terrifying ‘sectarian and misogynistic’ attack as he walked.
Hannah Kenny, representative of the People Before Profit party, said the attack took place last Saturday when she was delivering campaign materials in east Belfast.
She said she was surrounded by three men who grabbed her by the arm and throat before threatening her with more violence if they saw her around again.
A party statement said: “This incident took place on Saturday afternoon as our party activists were out promoting our election message, in a region which – like many working-class communities on both sides of the sectarian divide – suffered decades of austerity and deprivation under Stormont.
“Hannah was approached by three men who put her through a terrifying ordeal that was both sectarian and misogynistic. They blocked her path, grabbing her by the arm and throat before detailing the violence they would inflict on her if she returned to the area.
Kenny said she was “deeply distressed” by the level of aggression shown towards her and that the men told her she had been identified from election campaign posters.
“Unfortunately, there is a minority that intends to polarize this election along familiar lines,” she said. “We saw other election candidates attacked and threatened, with posters being damaged in various places.
“These are not just attacks on individuals like me, they are attacks on the democratic process designed to set us back.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it had been reported that a woman had been insulted and threatened by three men as she handed out election materials.
He added that the report included allegations of physical and verbal abuse, including bigoted and misogynistic comments.
Ch Insp Mark Roberts said: “We have reached out to political parties to proactively offer briefings and information to candidates on crime prevention and personal safety, and our officers will continue to offer support and advice. advice at the local level.
“Investigations are ongoing and at this time we are treating this as a hate crime.
“We are calling on anyone who witnessed this incident or has a dash cam or moving footage, or any information that might help, to contact us on 101.”
PA Media news agency contributed to this report.