Prince Philip’s death should mean all loyalist protests suspended: Bryson and Allister

Calls have been made for a moratorium on loyalist demonstrations in the wake of Prince Philip’s death.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 5:55 pm
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 5:58 pm
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th April 2021 Loyalists take part in a protest at the Antiville roundabout in Larne County Antrim. Unionist communities loyal to the UK believe the Brexit sea border threatens Northern Irelandâ€TMs constitutional position within the union. Border Control Posts (BCPs) were built at Larne harbour, and two other facilities in Northern Ireland, as a consequence of Brexit. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson suggested that such a pause in protests should last the weekend, whilst TUV leader Jim Allister said halting demonstrations is the appropriate thing to do for anyone “proud of their loyalty to the Crown”.

The prince’s death at age 99 was announced today.

After prosecutors revealed on March 30 that they were going to take no action against the dozens of Sinn Fein members at Bobby Storey’s funeral, loyalist street violence which had already been occurring in Londonderry grew and spread – fuelled too by anger over the NI Brexit Protocol.

Disorder hit loyalist Sandy Row in south Belfast, then spread day by day to Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus , Ballymena, Larne, and interface areas of west Belfast.

Concerns had already been voiced about some of the calls being made online for loyalists to take to the streets on Friday night in places like Portadown; Mr Bryson himself had earlier urged people to be aware of “sinister” forces trying to manipulate young men and boys into taking part in street trouble.

He called for people to be especially wary of “calls to arms” being made from anonymous online accounts, saying people must beware of those who “hide in the shadows”.

Now he has told the News Letter: “My view on it is that it would be disrespectful to engage in any kind of public protest at this time – disrespectful to the Royal Family.

“To protest in a manner which disrespects the Royal Family of the Union, which we’re protesting to defend, would not only be foolish but wholly counter-productive.

“My personal view is that all protests which have been called for tonight [Friday] should be postponed to a point in the near future, as a mark of respect; I think even peaceful protests should be postponed.”

As to how long this should last, he said: “I think probably the weekend. But I think that’s something people will have to consider.

“There are genuine and pressing reasons for there to be legitimate and peaceful protests. But the focus has to be on getting the message out today that protesting in light of the sad death of Prince Philip would be counter-productive.

“These protests can be resumed in the near future. But for now they should be called off.”

Meanwhile Jim Allister heaped praise on the prince for his “lifetime of faithful service” saying his passing leaves “a huge gap in national life”.

He said: “The thoughts of the people of Northern Ireland will be with Her Majesty the Queen who has lost a companion of 73 years, the longest Royal marriage in history.

“Like millions of others in the UK, across the Commonwealth and indeed the world I will be remembering Her Majesty in prayer.

“On Monday, the Assembly should adjourn as a mark of respect after there has been an opportunity to pay tributes to a remarkable life well lived.

“It would also be appropriate, at this time to of national mourning, for those rightly proud of their loyalty to the Crown to cease demonstrations.”

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