IN PICTURES: Bandsmen and balaclavas as loyalists protest Protocol in Portadown
Hundreds of people have taken part in a protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol in Co Armagh.
Loyalists gathered in Portadown town centre on Saturday in demonstration over the controversial protocol and what organisers said is “two-tier policing”.
A number of bands took part in the rally and a few speakers also addressed the crowd.
A number of people leading the march were wearing balaclavas, and many held anti-protocol signs and placards while others waved Union flags.
Police officers held a sign informing protesters they were taking part in an illegal protest and that they are liable to arrest.
Many others wore face masks and hooded jumpers to cover their face.
The organisers had not applied to the Parades Commission for permission to hold the protest.
Under current Covid-19 guidelines, gatherings are limited to 500 people outside.
The protest, which lasted around 45 minutes, passed off peacefully.
A new raft of checks on goods at the ports of Belfast and Larne under the terms of the protocol have sparked anger among unionists and loyalists who feel Northern Ireland is being separated from the rest of the UK.
Talks are continuing between the EU and the UK Government to solve some of the issues linked to the protocol, but many unionists have called for the protocol to be scrapped.
Unionists and loyalists who opposed the protocol say it created a “border in the Irish Sea”, distancing Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd called on the PSNI to investigate the alleged breaches of parade legislation at Saturday’s event.
The Upper Bann MLA said: “Several hundred protesters gathered in Portadown town centre today.
“An unnotified band parade also took place, with the town centre basically closed down by the protest.
“While everyone has a right to peaceful protest there is an onus on everyone to act within the law.”
More from this reporter:
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.