Northern Ireland news

Loyalist protest to anti-internment march given go-ahead

Anti-internment parade spokesman Dee Fennel said the event will be dignified
Connla Young

THE Parades Commission has given the go-ahead for a loyalist protest during an anti-internment march in Belfast tomorrow.

Organisers of the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism protest had wanted to bring 300 people onto the city centre's streets but the commission has restricted the number to 150.

Last year the group organised a rally at Belfast City Hall which was addressed by speakers including Britain First leader Paul Golding and Belfast independent councillor Jolene Bunting.

The latest protest was organised after the Parades Commission gave permission for up to 500 people and four bands to take part in an Anti-Internment League march through the city centre.

It will begin at Writer's Square on Donegall Street at 1.15pm and move to the City Hall via Royal Avenue, Donegall Place and Donegall Square North, where an address will be given.

The annual march had been stopped from entering the city centre since 2015.

Loyalists have previously held protests along the route of the parade and in 2013 there was violence at Royal Avenue when they clashed with police.

The Parades Commission has ordered protesters tomorrow to stand on a footpath at points between 35 and 70 metres countryward of the junction of Royal Avenue and Lower Garfield Street.

They must disperse after the parade has passed and should not attempt to follow it.

AIL spokesman Dee Fennel last night described the Parades Commission determination as “nonsensical regarding numbers”.

“It does not matter how many loyalists are in Royal Avenue on Saturday, we will be marching to highlight the issue of internment in a dignified fashion,” he added.

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