Webchat with Jamie Bryson in full

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On Friday protest speaker Jamie Bryson spoke to readers directly during a live webchat.

Here is the chat in full, as it happened.

Jamie Bryson: Thanks to everyone for the questions. Tried answer as many as possible. I would encourage all protestors to stay peaceful and again reiterate calls for the linking of arms passing Short Strand tomorrow.


Jamie Bryson: I would hope tonight will be totally peaceful.


Comment From Arnold

How many riots do you reckon there will be tonight?


Jamie Bryson: Happy to engage with any young Catholic. I publicly stated last week that the young people of this country, Protestant, Catholic and every other religion need to get together and build a shared and fair future. I believe there is ordindary decent young Roman Catholics who young people like myself could do business with and build a peace process that will be free for the restraints of the past. Young people are the way forward and a growing majority of young catholics are waking up and seeing that perhaps Sinn Fein weren’t right. These young Roman Catholics who you say want to stay part of UK, these are the type of people who could in the future form a voluntary coalition at Stormont. Happy to engage anytime with any young Catholic.


Comment From michael

what about young catholics - we want to stay in the UK but your movement is so exclusive, believe and campaign for our sense of Britishness or your against us? what’s your message to those in society who feel threatened and excluded?


Jamie Bryson: I think you will find it is not me who is demanding enquiry after enquiry. It never ceases to amaze me that when an IRA man wen to shoot a policeman, UDR man or British soldier he creeped up behind him and shot them in the back of the head, that to Sinn Fein was all part of the ‘conflict’, yet when the British security forces met an armed IRA man they must give him three warnings or it is a shoot to kill policy. My view on this is clear, if you take up arms and call yourself an army then behave like one, do not expect one side to play by one set of rules while you play by another. The days of pushover and appeasement Unionism swallowing this nonsense is over, lets be clear on that.


Comment From Bob Roberts

Why is it you look to the future by constantly holding onto the past? A past that you have only read about might I add.


Jamie Bryson: I heard that when the world was due to end at Christmas time Terry Spence had a pre prepared statement for anyone who survived, not surprisingly he blamed the UVF.


Jamie Bryson: The protests are organised by ordinary people on social media sites. The PSNI and others have been quick to blame the UVF, last I checked the UVF don’t have a facebook account. I can state 100% that paramilitaries are not organising the protests and do not have any influence over them. If paramilitaries have been at the protests they are there in a personal capacity, not on behalf of their organisation. If a Royal Mail employee attends the protest I dont hear the police federation blaming the post office for orchestrating violence. Its scandalous and what it is, is an attempt to divide the people and undermine support for the protests, it hasnt worked thankfully.


Comment From Guest 7

What are your views on the suggestion that loyalist paramilitaries are involved in stoking up the flag protests for their own selfish means? Are loyalist paramilitaries involved in the protests?


Jamie Bryson: Lets be clear, a shared future means society all saying sorry, aplogises for thier actions. Martin McGuinness may dance around the situaion and use all sorts of flowery words but he does not apologise for his past or that of his organisation, as a matter of fact they glorify it and put on a pedestal those who murdered and maimed innocent people. I can understand why people in the Protestant community would feel that way about Martin McGuinness and the IRA. A genuine peace can only be built when the IRA and our joint first minister admits and apologises for his role in the conflict. If Martin McGuinness has changed, as the DUP would have you believe, then let him denounce the actions of the past and send the message to this generation that violence does not pay.


Comment From Gerald

Mr Bryson do you consider yourself one of the 99% of people who would noty condemn the shooting of Martin McGuinness?


Jamie Bryson: (A) You are giving me alot of credit, I do not have the power to hold the Country to ransom and (B) I have not made any demands.


Comment From Brian

So you’re saying you don’t have a mandate and you don’t claim to have a mandate, but you plan to hold us all to ransom until your demands are met. Would that be a fair summary?


Jamie Bryson: People have a right to protest against their government if they feel its wrong, that is enshrined within democracy. Should all the people of Germany have backed Adolf Hitler? Your argument that because a majority decides something (It was not even a majority, it was a swing of power in one council area) that no matter how wrong it is you just swallow it and get on with it? That opens the door for the majority to oppress the minority, if everyone through history took that view Barrack Obama would not be president right now.


Comment From Steven Law

You mention a positive out outcome of this being the political activation of young people. I’m sorry Jamie but that’s totally incorrect. The negative outcome of this is that people are rejecting democratic and therefore politcial decisons and taking to the streets. That is not engaging people in politics. Its engaging them in unlawful protest- not the same thing. And can you explain why you constantly refer to this as a ‘people’s’ movement when large numbers of the people you claim to represent are stuck in trafiic because of you?


Jamie Bryson: Santa brought it me.


Comment From William Gallagher

Jamie, where did you get your coat? I’ve been looking for something similar for a while. Will.


Jamie Bryson: The rest of the UK don’t feel their British identity is under attack on a daily basis.


Comment From Guest

The flag issue was voted democratically, by all parties. Not just Sinn Fein. In the rest of the UK flying the flag only on designated days is accepted as the norm. Why is it an issue here?


Jamie Bryson: The protests belong to the people, I nor anyone else has the power or the right to tell people to stop peacefully protesting.


Comment From boondock

Jamie you have had several protests everybody now is well aware that a small section of the population are unhappy about the situation. Why now are the protests continuing. What is the point. The flag isn’t going to go back up every day unless the Councillors vote for it which is not likely to ever happen so is it not time to embrace democracy. Simple solution if you are not happy vote for someone else, if there is no-one else then form a new party. That is the way forward not mob rule!


Jamie Bryson: The idea East Belfast is to show the world media that we are not the aggressors and the PSNI also have a duty to protect peaceful protestors, something which they have not being doing. The call for linking arms was made publically to make the PSNI aware and we expect them to protect us from attack. The safety of all protestors is parampunt and let me assure you this is not about peoples profiles, I and many around meare not gaining from this. I have no flash cars or a big house, nor am I sitting with a £70,000 a year salary. The people on the ground love our country, that is our motivation. Sections of the media and sinister forces at work will try and potray it as otherwise, that shows they seem to fear the ordinary protestant people being united.


Comment From east belfast protester

this idea of linking arms is dangerous, if the protesters are attacked people will panic and run in all directions. the saftey of the protesters must come1st, not the advancement of peoples profiles..


Jamie Bryson: The UPF is set up to ensure that doesn’t happen. Be assured Andrew the people in our group want to move forward, and we will, but only when it is the wishes of the majority of the people on the ground and they feel they have had their say and we have a strategy that will allow the young people and not so young people to have their voices heard.


Comment From Andrew

How do stop the Unionist Commission being used by the mainstream parties to exploit you and the other young people as opposed to being assisting in articulating your cause?


Jamie Bryson: I did. I met him in relation to community issues pertaining to North Down. I shook his hand because if Jesus could let Judas kiss him I am sure I could shake hands with Martin McGuinness.


Comment From Wobbley_bob

Jamie. Did you meet Martin Maginnis in Feb 2011. If so why? and finally, did you shake his hand?


Jamie Bryson: If that is your feeling that is fine, I do not claim a mandate. I only speak where I am asked and for the people in our group, the UPF. The DUP and others seem to be more concerned about how many people support us than we are.


Comment From Brian

When you refer to “the people” who do you mean - the handful of people who voted for you, the couple of hundred on the streets or just yourself and Willie? Do you really think the rest of us law abiding citizens should be governed based on the actions of a few hundred protestors?


Jamie Bryson: Kevin a shared future must be a fair future for all. The Protestant community feel the peace process has become and appeasement process, and appeasement only makes the agressor more aggressive. I am on record many times encouraging people to remain peaceful. Protests must be peaceful.


Comment From Kevin

All this is really depressing... Chaos, has come back to our society... You cant simply talk about democracy, support protests which are unlawful and violent, and blame a council for taking a democratic decision! When are you going to realise that compromise must happen to achieve a shared future!


Jamie Bryson: John Mc I cannot say where the protests are going to go, they belong to the people not me. It only took 13 men to close the gates mind you so I wont be getting to hung up on numbers.


Jamie Bryson: As I stated earlier Gareth, the PUL community in Northern Ireland democratically supported power sharing on the understanding that it would be a shared and fair future. They did not support it so as Sinn Fein could use their position gained by Unionist compromise to further destroy every aspect of our British identity.


Comment From Gareth Gallagher

Do you feel democracy is the best way forward? It seems that those you are involved with would not. Do you express to those on the ground that a democratic and lawful decision was made and if so how do they react to it?


Jamie Bryson: This is not ‘my’ revolution. These protests belong to the people and no one person or group has control over the people. Alot of protests are organised over social media and its important to keep in mind the ‘social media revolution’ in a global sense. In the past number of years we have seen a number of governements overthrown by protests which started by a text message or facebook status.


Comment From John Manley

Jamie, can you put a figure on the number of people actively supporting your revolution? - It seems at best to be in the 100s. It’s easy to slabber on facebook/twitter - I should know.


Jamie Bryson: I think people are missing the positives in all this. The young people have become politically engaged, violence is wrong but it has provided an oppourtunity to engage with young people and give them an avenue to use their passion and channel it in the right direction which is away from violence and into political and community activism.


Comment From William in Carrickfergus

Would you not agree that the continuing violence associated with deliberately disruptive protests has done more to de-value the flag in the eyes of the majority, by dragging it through the mud in the hands of masked thugs, than have any impact in a political sense? I would state that most of unionists, although aggrieved at the flag removal, see this as a disgrace to the flag and a intimidatory attack on peaceful democracy. As a self apointed figure head do you take any responsibility for this shambles?


Jamie Bryson: The Protestant people voted for power sharing under the pretence that Sinn Fein were interested in building a shared future for all. The words Gerry Kelly and others use such as ‘equality’ ‘Shared future’ etc might wipe the eye of the DUP but it certainly does not fool me or many others. Sinn Fein use these words as a weapon to be used to further their aim of destroying the state of N.Ireland, albeit by political means. They only want equality when it suits their United Ireland agenda, shall we talk about equality of naming play parks after killers?


Comment From This is ridiculous

Jamie, you constantly seem to refer to Sinn Fein. The removal of the flag was removed due to a democratic vote. The voters being assembly members, the members having being voted by the people. Does democracy mean nothing to you or is it an ‘if the outcome is in my favour’ process then it’s a good one


Jamie Bryson: I do stand over my comments that this is a new kind of warfare. Politics is a battlefield with many unseen enemies. Sinn Fein have not given up their aim to destroy the British state of Northern Ireland, lets be clear about that, they have just started using new tactics...politics.


Comment From Just Curious

Jamie, do you stand by your use of language that this is a new type of ‘warfare’ as per your youtube videos and TV coverage of the same? I also notice that in your comments at 1:54 you did not condemn the violence, rather said that watered down the message (not actually commenting on it being illegal and wrong).


Jamie Bryson: I have known this for a long time Peter. There are some good men within big house Unionism but many change to suit the political climate.


Comment From Peter Savage

Have you realised that big house Unionism doesn’t care about working class Protestants yet?


Jamie Bryson: I would agree with that Stephen. As I stated on BBC ‘the view’ last night, in 1998 Peter Robinson told us that ‘the only cabinet the provo’s should be in is made of wood and has brass handles’. He now delivers the former leader of the IRA into the joint First Ministers position in this country. He hounded Trimble as a Lundy for sharing power with the SDLP, hypocrisy?


Comment From Stephen

Do you see the disaffection with unionists political representation by those who voted them into office as an indication that they operate the Belfast Agreement only to suit themselves in their desperation to cling to power?


Jamie Bryson: We have not claimed to have a mandate and in fact been clear all along that we do not. What we do have however is the support of many grassroots Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists, especially young people, who are disconnected from the political process. Enshrined within democracy is the right to hold those who are elected to account and this is what the people are doing.


Comment From Roy

Is this new movement simply an opportunity for people like yourself to attack the mainstream unionist parties? Yourself and Willy Fraser have been rejected by the electorate before, where is your mandate?


Jamie Bryson: Lets be clear, the DUP interest at the start of the flag issue was winning East Belfast back from Alliance. Throughout the protests they have tried at times to ride two horses. Peter Robinson had called for an end to protests yet some of his party members attended, they then told the media they were only there at the request of the PSNI, which is untrue. They need to decide if they are with us or against and not try and sit on the fence.


Comment From Tim

What do you think of the DUP today lodging a formal complaint to Belfast City Council about restricting the flying of the Union Flag?


Jamie Bryson: Northern Ireland is a soverign British state, I am confused as to why the City Hall would fly a foreign flag.


Comment From Guest

Would you feel satisfied and pleased if the decision was made for the Union Jack to fly 365 days a year alongside the Tricolour on City Hall? And perhaps other flags from prominent communities in Belfast such as the Chinese flag and the Polish flag?


Jamie Bryson: Certainly. I would be delighted to engage with any young person. The UPF have branchs all over the province and I will personally try and engage with as many young people as possible. Feel free to add me on facebook or twitter and see how we can work together.


Comment From Guest

hello i was just wanting to no is their some way jamie bryson would take some of our young protestants under him.to learn how to speak in front of camera and media.a lot of loyalists need to be herd but dont no how to jamie is a breath of fresh air for working class people not people with suits who only see when votin times.


Jamie Bryson: Not once have I supported riots. What I do say it is easy to condemn people, much harder to look at the reasons which motivates the young people and try and harness the positive intentions that comes from their actions and encourage them to direct those energies into political and community activism. Violence drowns out the message.


Comment From Frankie

Jamie if you’re really a Christian then why are you supporting Province Wide riots over a flag and what if it turns nasty like someone dies, your only 22 so before talking to these crowds do you have to research things that happened before and after your birth. Since you’re not old enough to remember things that happened in the 80s?


Jamie Bryson: This movement at the moment belongs to the people on the ground. I will not be joining any mainstream political party at this time as I feel the ordindary people have a wide scope of opinions and I want everyone to have the chance to have their voice heard.


Comment From steven smith

Jamie,under DUP ,UUP “LEADERSHIP”we have been going nowhere fast.If you are considering politics,which banner will you run under,or will we see a new Ulster party as the only way forward.... Good luck.


Jamie Bryson: This has been said by French TV, Russia TV and Candian media.


Comment From Disgruntled Commuter 31

Hi, I’d like to ask Mr Bryson if he could provide any sources/references to back up his claim that the world’s media are referring to this as a people’s revolution?


Jamie Bryson: Everyone has the right to express their political and cultural identity, however the agreement was presented to the Protestants of Ulster who wished to remain British as ‘the union is safe’ and that Sinn Fein were accepting the political process and working to create a Northern Ireland that makes everyone welcome, however Northern Ireland is a soverign British state and thus the flag should be flown. Nationalists must understand that Unionists feel our identity is under attack from Sinn Feins ‘culture war’ and thus the flying of the flag is an important part of our cultural identity.


Comment From Realist

Hi, do nationalists living in the 6 counties have any right to feel Irish in the North?


Jamie Bryson: In response to Alan. Lets be clear the protests are not organised by any one person or group, what we are seeing is a type of social media revolution which I think is something that has been missed. I support peoples democratic right to peaceful protest. It is important to remember that Sinn Fein brought this issue to the fore and thus the blame for any disruption must be laid at the door of where it belongs.


Jamie Bryson: Protest speaker Jamie Bryson will be here live to answer this and all your questions from 1.30pm.


Comment From Alan in Belfast

12,000 people will try to converge on Ravenhill tonight to watch a rugby match in a non-sectarian environment. How will bringing roads to a stand still and disrupting family journeys make people sympathetic to the protests that Jamie helps organise