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PSNI probes 'F*** the DUP' slogans at Belfast abortion rally

Some demonstrators displayed the slogan at a Rally for Choice event in Belfast
Brendan Hughes

POLICE investigating a woman over a 'F*** the DUP' placard at Belfast's gay pride march are now examining the use of the same slogan by abortion activists.

Some demonstrators at a 'Rally for Choice' march on Saturday adopted the anti-DUP slogan in apparent solidarity with Ellie Evans who is facing possible prosecution.

It was used on placards and headbands, and was shouted collectively by protesters listening to platform speeches at the end of the city centre rally.

Some activists were also pictured standing side-by-side wearing purple T-shirts, each with a single letter printed on the back, to spell out the slogan.

Ms Evans was questioned by police earlier this month after carrying a 'F*** the DUP' placard at Belfast Pride in August.

The PSNI intends to send a file to the Public Prosecution Service.

Police last night confirmed they are also examining the displays during Saturday's rally, which called for abortion law changes.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are aware of this matter and our enquiries are ongoing."

Ms Evans, who also attended the weekend protest, said she intends to make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

She described as "ridiculous" the PSNI referring the matter to prosecutors when the Metropolitan Police said a similar banner in London was not an offence.

Police received a complaint from DUP MLA Jim Wells and the 24-year-old was interviewed after officers came to her home.

Ms Evans said police told her she was questioned over an alleged public order offence and claims of "inciting hate".

"It's just ridiculous to treat this as a crime. London Met got a complaint, but it's absolutely not a crime – it's a protest," she said.

"I will be submitting a complaint to the ombudsman. Are we going to have police resources wasted on every protest against the DUP?"

The placard was confiscated by Belfast Pride organisers who feared it breached Parades Commission rules.

In July, a balloon-adorned banner with the same 'F*** the DUP' message was displayed during London Pride.

Scotland Yard received a complaint, but said it was not investigated as it "did not meet the threshold for a criminal offence".

Last week Mr Wells welcomed the PSNI probe, saying people who voted DUP "have a right to be respected".

The PSNI said any complaint it receives is examined and officers speak to all relevant parties to establish if any offence has been committed.

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