In pictures: Hundreds in Belfast for military veterans’ protest rally

Hundreds of military veterans attended a rally in Belfast amid tight security on Friday as a dissident republican counter protest took place just yards away.

The rally was organised by the Justice For Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV) in protest at criminal proceedings being brought against soldiers involved in fatal shootings during the Troubles.

Hundreds of military veterans and their supporters at the 14 April rally at Belfast City Hall. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Hundreds of military veterans and their supporters at the 14 April rally at Belfast City Hall. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

A counter demonstration by dissident group Saoradh had been given the go-ahead by the Parades Commission, sparking concern there would be an attempt to disrupt the JFNIV rally.

However, despite a tense atmosphere around Donegall Square North, the 120-strong Saoradh demonstration in Donegall Place paraded back to Castle Place around 11.35am – breaching a Parades Commission direction to disperse at Donegall Place.

Using a public address system, police also warned the republican protesters they had breached the commission’s determination by singing and chanting.

The JFNIV event in Belfast was timed to coincide with others taking place at Horse Guards Parade in London and in Glasgow’s George Square.

Saoradh counter protest in Belfast in oppositon to military veterans' rally. 
Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Saoradh counter protest in Belfast in oppositon to military veterans' rally. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Addressing the 500 veterans and their supporters at the front of the city hall, former Royal Irish captain Doug Beattie MC said the current historic investigation process was loaded against those who served the state.