Northern Ireland news

Mark Sykes arrest: Sequence of events

Mark Sykes pictured outside Musgrave Street police station in Belfast with his solicitor Niall Murphy (right) after his release

FEBRUARY 5

:: A small number of people gather for a private commemoration on the 29th anniversary of the Sean Graham bookmakers' killings

:: Mark Sykes is arrested at about 2:30pm as he and relatives laid flowers at a memorial to the dead

:: Video footage of the PSNI operation is posted online and Mr Sykes can be seen holding a bag containing floral tributes

:: Mr Sykes is taken to Musgrave PSNI station and released at about 4:30pm. His solicitor Niall Murphy said he had been arrested for disorderly behaviour

:: PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said officers "came across between 30 and 40 people" at the memorial

:: Mr Byrne said two officers spoke to a man about a breach of health protection regulations. The situation "quickly escalated" and a man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest

FEBRUARY 6

:: The Police Ombudsman says it has launched an investigation

:: Its says its investigation will focus on establishing all of the facts surrounding the incident

FEBRUARY 7

:: Simon Byrne apologises for what happened. The Policing Board says this is a "welcome first step"

:: Having reviewed body worn video from the incident, a decision is taken to suspend one officer and re-position another. The two officers were recent recruits

FEBRUARY 8

:: Political parties meet Simon Byrne to discuss the fallout

:: Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says there is "unprecedented anger" over the arrest

:: First Minister Arlene Foster says the events have all the hallmarks of trial by social media

:: Mr Byrne says he will not be resigning after what he accepts was his worst week since taking charge of the PSNI in July 2019

FEBRUARY 9

:: A victims' group says relatives of people killed in the Sean Graham bookmaker's attack have been "re-traumatised" by the arrest of Mr Sykes

:: It is claimed there is "seismic discontent" amongst nationalist PSNI officers following the events

:: The PSNI is urged to clarify circumstances of the arrest

:: The young officers who intervened following the commemoration did not intend to cause offence, the Police Federation says

:: It is claimed the officers had been driving past and saw a crowd. When they stopped, they were totally unaware of the context

Read more: Sean Graham Bookmaker victim Mark Sykes held 'handcuffed in car for more than hour and a half' without being questioned

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