Northern Ireland news

Hundreds attend north Down protocol protest

Prominent north Down loyalist Jamie Bryson
Connla Young

HUNDREDS of loyalists attended a large protest in Co Down last night opposing the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The event included several parades from loyalist estates to the town centre, where a rally later took place.

Supporters, many carrying Union and other flags, took part in the separate parades, which up until last night had not been notified to the Parades Commission.

The event was expected to be addressed by former British government minister Kate Hoey, who is originally from Co Antrim.

Other speakers included prominent north Down loyalist Jamie Bryson, TUV leader Jim Allister and former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib.

The protest is one of dozens to take place across the north in recent months.

Loyalists are angry over the protocol, which creates a border down the Irish sea,

The latest protest took place just days after Mr Bryson confirmed that a mass protest may be held on the streets of Dublin next month.

Several large parades and rallies have been held in recent weeks, including one that attracted around 3,000 people in the Shankill Road area of west Belfast last week.

Days earlier, 800 people attended a similar event in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Prior to the parade Ards and North Down Loyalist Collective had said the four "high profile speakers will send a clear message that the violence rewarding, union dismantling protocol must go".

It added that "all speakers argue that alongside being morally repugnant mutilation of the union, that the protocol is unlawful".

Meanwhile, the annual Tour of the North parade took place in north Belfast last night.

Up to 10 bands had been expected to take part with around 500 participants.

The Parades Commission had ruled that only a single drumbeat should be played along a section of Donegall Street, past St Patrick's Church, and Clifton Street, which is close to nationalists homes.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news