Calls for Shankill protest against NI protocol to be ‘peaceful like the others’

Calls have been made for a planned protest against the NI protocol in the Woodvale area of the Shankill in Belfast “to again be peaceful”.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:26 pm

News about the planned protest has been released on social media.

It details that the protest is expected to be held on Thursday June 10 at Woodvale Park in Belfast at 7pm.

The post says it is organised by the ‘Unionist and Loyalist Unified coalition’.

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It adds: “Join your voice to the groundswell of opinion and join us to protest against the NI protocol”.

DUP MLA William Humphrey, who said he was not aware of the upcoming protest said: “I don’t think there has been any trouble at other protests (against the NI protocol).”

He further commended “those who have taken part in protests because they have been peaceful” adding that “the protocol needs to be replaced”.

“No doubt this protest will be peaceful as well,” he said.

Hundreds attended a rally in Portadown, organised by a group calling themselves the Unionist and Loyalist Unified Coalition. Picture: Philip Magowan / Press Eye

When asked about men wearing balaclavas at a similar protest against the NI protocol in Portadown last Saturday afternoon, Mr Humphrey said, “It was a peaceful protest.”

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie attended the Co Armagh protest last weekend.

The Upper Bann MLA said he turned up at the event to observe and listen, and said he was standing well back from the parade.

Mr Beattie told the Nolan Show that he was there because the protest was in the constituency he represents and where he has an office.

One of a number of bands that took part in the Portadown anti-NI Protocol protest on Saturday. Picture: Philip Magowan / Press Eye

He said: “I think it’s important that as an MLA for a constituency and a town where my office is, that when I am told there is an unnotified demonstration taking place that I am there to represent the people because the shops were open, we had shoppers about, we had people who were passing by and I felt I needed to be there.

“I was not part of the parade, I stood well back from the gathering which was there at the demonstration and I listened to what was being said from the podium. I think that’s also very important to listen to what people have to say.

“Regardless of what that demonstration was for, I would have been there.

“Had this been an unnotified parade about a united Ireland I would have been there to make sure that if things went wrong then I could help to calm the situation down and liaise with the police. Thankfully it was very peaceful.”

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