There have been calls for political unity following a series of sectarian incidents in a council-owned park in north Belfast.
Local politicians say that on Thursday night, a group of men gathered at Grove Playing Fields and told people wearing GAA and football tops to leave.
Last weekend, a banner saying “Anti British GAA not welcome” was placed at the park’s entrance.
Graffiti with the same message was also sprayed on a wall in the grounds.
They were removed by council and are being treated as a hate crime by police.
‘Kids are no threat’
A north Belfast GAA member, who did not want to be identified, told BBC News NI the experience has been “intimidating”.
“The fact that people have been chased off with their children, some as young as seven years of age, I mean no seven-year-old child, whether they’re wearing a GAA top or a Northern Ireland top, they’re no threat to anyone.
“This isn’t even a club, it’s parents and their kids getting fresh air and exercise.
“It’s very damaging to the whole community, because in recent years there has been so much goodwill built up from all sides of the community.
“I don’t think this is representative of the community.”
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said: “To say it’s just anti-GAA is actually not correct. Unfortunately, this is sectarian and it’s anti-Catholic.
“We’ve reached out to politicians across north Belfast, we need to work together to de-escalate this.”
Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Paul McCusker said: “As a council, we need to make sure that all our parks are shared spaces.
“People are using parks across the city to train and come together gradually after Covid.”
The SDLP councillor added: “It’s very concerning that this possibly could have been orchestrated.
“All political parties need to come together to say we cannot tolerate this and it must not continue.”
In a statement, DUP councillor Dean McCullough said there had been a series of sectarian incidents in the area over the past eight weeks.
He said residents have been “verbally abused and felt intimidated”.
“Anti-unionist writing and contentious flags have also been placed in Grove Park.
“Grove Park is a public park and is open to all. All forms of intimidation are wrong and we condemn them outright. No one should feel targeted or harassed because of their religion.”
In a statement, Belfast City Council said it was aware of “an incident” that took place at Grove Playing Fields on Thursday evening.
The council said its parks “are shared spaces for everyone to enjoy” and encouraged anyone who witnesses such incidents to report them to police.
PSNI Insp Paul Noble said: “Due to a number of reports of incidents at the Grove Playing Fields over the last week, police have been maintaining a presence in the area and carrying out regular patrols through the playing fields.
“Police will continue to pay particular attention to the area with regular patrols in the days ahead and will continue to liaise with partner agencies and local representatives.”