Northern Ireland news

Further loyalist parades planned for the weekend

Loyalists parading in Markethill, Co Armagh, on Wednesday night

FURTHER loyalist parades are planned for this weekend, as protests against the Northern Ireland Protocol continue.

Parades are expected to take place in Moygashel, Co Tyrone, and Larne and Ballymena in Co Antrim.

A small group of loyalists paraded through Markethill on Wednesday evening amid continued protests over the protocol and the policing of veteran republican Bobby Storey's funeral last year.

Police maintained a presence in the area but there were no reports of any disturbances.

A further parade is planned for the Co Armagh village this weekend.

PSNI Superintendent Patricia Foy said police are investigating if Wednesday night's parade breached parading and pandemic legislation.

"Organisers of parades are required to give formal notification of their intentions and, last night, warnings were given to participants and an evidence-gathering operation was in place," she said.

"We will now review all the footage gathered and consider any suspected breaches of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations NI 2020."

Loyalists held widespread protests against the protocol over Easter.

There were riots in several areas including Belfast, Derry and Newtownabbey.

Eighty-eight PSNI officers were injured and children as young as 13 were among those arrested.

Protests were paused following the death of Prince Philip but resumed in several areas on Monday night, including in Newtownards and Bangor, Co Down.

Loyalists are unhappy at the protocol, which has created a post-Brexit border in the Irish Sea.

They have also hit out at the decision not to prosecute any Sinn Féin members over their attendance at Bobby Storey's funeral in June last year.

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Northern Ireland news