Frazer due in court over role in protests
MARKETHILL flag protestor Willie Frazer will appear in Belfast Magistrates Court this morning (Friday) to face charges relating to his alleged role in Province-wide protests.
His associate Jamie Bryson was also arrested yesterday, both of them having been leading spokesmen on issues relating to the protests.
Officers from the PSNI Operation Dulcet Enquiry Team charged 52-year-old Mr Frazer with various offences last night, including three counts of taking part in an unnotified public procession and obstructing traffic in a public place.
Officers also arrested 23-year-old Mr Bryson yesterday afternoon after a prolonged manhunt in Bangor over two days. Police said he was arrested in the Bangor area on suspicion of public order offences relating to the flag protests. Last night Pastor Mark Gordon, a friend of Mr Bryson’s, said the young loyalist had gone on a hunger and thirst strike.
It is understood there were several small flag protests last night, one of around 20 people outside Musgrave Street police station, where Mr Bryson and Mr Frazer were being held, and a similar number of people were involved in a protest at Sandy Row in Belfast. There were unconfirmed reports of larger protests in Ballymena and Coleraine.
Pastor Barrie Halliday, acting director of Markethill victims group FAIR which was previously led by Mr Frazer, said they had been expecting him to be released from custody last night.
“Jamie Bryson is just one of many protestors,” he said. “We see what victims have suffered and what has not been done for them. And then we compare that to the lengths they will go to, to arrest Jamie Bryson.”
Flag protestors have been on the streets since before Christmas, after Belfast councillors voted to restrict the flying of the Union Flag to designated days. Although most protests have been peaceful, Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said a small number of UVF members were involved in orchestrating violence which saw some 150 police officers injured and Belfast trade badly damaged.
Community leaders in east Belfast say that the flag issue was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. A major grievance, they have told the News Letter, is the perception that there are one-sided probes into the past, with only security forces and loyalists being heavily investigated.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Portadown
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South east