Protestors cheer as anti-internment parade stopped

Protestors start to disperse after hearing news the parade was not being allowed into Belfast city centre
Protestors start to disperse after hearing news the parade was not being allowed into Belfast city centre
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Loyalists cheered with delight at hearing news that Sunday’s planned anti-internment parade was not going to be allowed into Belfast city centre.

Police stopped the contentious republican parade after it breached legal restrictions.

The anti-internment marchers had been granted permission by the Parades Commission to pass through a main shopping thoroughfare but only before 1.30pm.

With that deadline passed, the parade was stopped on the nationalist Oldpark Road.

Three loyalist groups had applied for counter protests along the route of the march.

But the Parades Commission had limited numbers for each of those to 150.

DUP councillor Ruth Patterson, who broke the news to the assembled groups in Belfast city centre around 2pm, said: “The chief inspector came over to me and said ‘Ruth will you inform the people that the determination is being upheld and they are not being allowed into the city centre’.

“After I told the protestors there was a loud cheer went up and the cry ‘no surrender’.

“Then everybody very quickly dispersed and the city centre reopened again.”

She said during the protest a wreath was laid in remembrance of two UDR soldiers who were murdered in Royal Avenue.

Loyalists had expressed anger that the parade was set to pass the location where the soldiers – James Cummings and Frederick Starrett, who were both 22 – were murdered by an IRA bomb in 1988.

Victims’ spokesman Willie Frazer, from Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, who also attended the protest, added: “This is a victory for us and for the police.

“As far as we are concerned it is a good result.

“There was no trouble as far as the protest went and the Parades Commission determination is being upheld so that is all we are asking for – equal treatment.”