Hundreds of people at anti-protocol parade in Carrickfergus
Hundreds of loyalists attended a protest in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol and an alleged “two-tier” policing system, in Carrickfergus last night (Thursday).
The demonstration started in the Castlemara area before making its way along Marine Highway in the east Antrim town.
Among those present was DUP Councillor Marc Collins who represents the Knockagh DEA of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Cllr Collins said: “I was at the parade last night. I’d like to praise the organisers and everyone who took part. I am proud of our town. Residents showed that the community won’t go down without a fight.
“There were hundreds of people there and this shows the level of ill-feeling in the community and the opposition to the protocol and the two-tier policing that is evident across Northern Ireland at this time.”
The parade comes after protests across unionist areas of Northern Ireland, reportedly due to the Irish Sea customs border following Brexit and the failure to prosecute participants in the funeral of senior republican Bobby Storey for potential breaches of Covid regulations.
Cllr Collins added: “Last night’s event was peaceful and I would commend everyone for conducting themselves in this way. I would urge anyone who is opposed to the protocol and the Irish Sea border to show their opposition in a peaceful way.”
A spokesperson for the Parades Commission said it was not notified for any event in Carrickfergus last night, adding “un-notified parades and related protests are a matter for the PSNI.”
In a statement issued to this newspaper, Chief Superintendent Beck said: “Police were in attendance at an un-notified procession in the Castlemara and town centre areas of Carrickfergus yesterday evening (Thursday).
“At least 500 people were in attendance. There were no reports of anti-social behaviour or disorder.
“Organisers of parades are required to give formal notification of their intentions. A number of warnings were given to participants, and an evidence-gathering operation was in place.
“We will now review all the footage gathered and consider any suspected offences under the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 or breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021.”
Police said any breaches of coronavirus regulations would be investigated after the Parades Commission approved requests from three flute bands to stage parades in Rathcoole last Saturday (May 1). For more on this, read here
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