The father of a young boy who suffered the effects of CS gas during a controversial confrontation at a Junior Orange parade in south Belfast has said: ‘We’re still fully behind the police’.
George King, 39 and from Belfast (on the left in the video), is a long-time member of the South Belfast Young Conquerors band, and he and his son Christian – who plays the flute and is aged 12 – spoke to the News Letter about the incident on Friday afternoon in the Rangers Supporters’ Club, Sandy Row.
Of roughly 80 members of the band Mr George King estimates that over 20 are relatives of his.
Whilst he voiced upset over the ordeal suffered by his son – whom he said is still shaken by what happened – and the actions of the police who were immediately involved, his band also issued a denouncement of those who had posted details of police online following the fracas.
During a press conference at the club, the PUP’s Billy Hutchinson also condemned the decision of some loyalists to circulate a picture of an officer whom some say was involved.
The police issued a full statement in the wake of the incident, explaining their actions and giving their take on what had occurred.
George King said that he will still back the police, and teach his son to do the sam.
He told the News Letter: “They have a hard job to do. I’ve told Christian: ‘The police are there to help us’.
“Unfortunately on the day [there were] just wrong decisions.” In a statement, the South Belfast Young Conquerors flute band said it maintains the “highest standard of dignity and musicality”, and that any suggestion otherwise – such as that members intended to damage property during the march – was “a slur”, “inaccurate”, and “hurtful”.
The band thanked well-wishers, adding it will not comment further until after the ombudsman’s report is published – something which may take months.