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Loyalist parade ‘point of contact’ receives threats to his life

Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall a year on from the council decision to fly the Union Flag on designated days.

Loyalist flag protest at Belfast City Hall a year on from the council decision to fly the Union Flag on designated days.

 

A loyalist who describes himself as a “point of contact” for the organisers of a recent protest march through Belfast has said he is under threat.

John Lanigan was identified by a number of media outlets as having notified the police of the November 30 parade.

In a statement issued through his solicitor yesterday, Mr Lanigan claims the reports have resulted in his photograph being circulated on social media and republican websites.

He said pictures of his family have also been posted online and that he believes his personal computer has been hacked.

“I have received threats against me and I consider these to be threats against both my life and my family’s lives. The application for this parade was made through the appropriate channels. As a result of this parade, I have been vilified in the local media.

“I cooperated with police at all times. I was very anxious that there would be no trouble at the parade and thankfully the parade passed off peacefully,” Mr Lanigan said.

Up to 3,000 protesters took part in the Saturday parade from the city centre to the Woodvale area in north Belfast.

Organisers cited a list of grievances – including “human rights” issues, “political policing” and “PSNI brutality” – as the reason for the protest. The parade became illegal when it breached a Parades Commission determination – failing to be clear of the city centre by 12.30pm.

According to the statement, a police file has been forwarded to the PPS for a decision on a possible prosecution.

Mr Lanigan said he made “every effort” to comply with the commission’s ruling and has lodged official complaints to both the Police Ombudsman and the Press Complaints Commission.

A PSNI spokesman said: “We do not comment on named individuals. Anyone with a complaint against police actions should contact the Police Ombudsman’s office.”

 

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