Northern Ireland news

Hundreds of women march against 'east Belfast thugs' following Ian Ogle murder

Women march in East Belfast following the murder of Ian Ogle near his home in Cluan Place in east Belfast on January 27. Picture by Ann McManus

HUNDREDS of women marched through the streets yesterday to "take east Belfast back from thugs", led by the daughter of loyalist murder victim Ian Ogle.

Toni Johnston said her father's violent death should mark the end of paramilitary intimidation and punishment beatings in the demonstration inspired by International Women's Day.

Protestors held a large banner promoting 'Justice for East Belfast' as they walked from the scene of the Albertbridge Road killing on January 27 to CS Lewis Square a short distance away.

Several people have been charged in connection with Mr Ogle's killing.

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Ms Johnston declared: "Please do not let my dad die in vain.

"Take a stand against these thugs, look after each other and take east Belfast back."

Mr Ogle was a community worker aged 45.

He was stabbed 11 times in the back during a frenzied attack.

He was left for dead on his own street, his daughter said, dying in his own son's arms because of an apparent dirty look.

She recounted beating herself up about what would have happened if the family had gone to police over earlier concerns, whether her father would still be alive.

On Sunday, she asked: "What if we exposed those thugs long ago?"

Ms Johnston has previously described her family being subjected to a campaign of intimidation for 18 months before the murder.

She asked people to report perpetrators to police: "We as a community are saying no more violence on our streets.

"No more intimidation and drug dealing, no more punishment beatings, no more bullying or destroying our community - we have had enough."

Women march in East Belfast following the murder of Ian Ogle near his home in Cluan Place in east Belfast on Sunday, 27 January..Ian Ogle's daughter Toni pictured at the parade. Picture by Ann McManus.

One of the protest organisers, Mr Ogle's niece Emma Dryburgh, said she was there to demonstrate that people were sick of the violence on the streets.

She said she wanted East Belfast to be peaceful.

"It is one of the best places to live, I always used to be proud of East Belfast and used to feel very safe in the community and now it is completely and utterly changed.

"You are always looking over your shoulder, you are scared to speak out to the wrong person in case you are threatened, I want all that to stop."

She said women represented the voices behind their partners and brothers.

"We always say that behind a strong man there is an even stronger woman.

"We are sticking up for our men as well, we don't want our men to have to go through what Ian went through."

Women march in east Belfast following the murder of Ian Ogle in January. Picture by Ann McManus

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