Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Loyalists to boycott talks

The Orange Order and loyalist organisations are expected to boycott a talks initiative in Cardiff aimed at addressing community tensions.

The initiative promoted by the University of Ulster and the PSNI is designed to try to resolve tensions between the force and loyalists following rioting and protests in east Belfast and north Belfast in December and January.

Senior sources in the Orange Order say the initiative is about community tensions and not about parades, and that while members of the Order may attend, they will not be speaking for it.

The Community Telegraph has received a statement from a number of loylist groups who said they would be boycotting the event.

The statement, from the United Protestant voice, the Ulster People's Forum, Bangor Civil Rights and "many more like minded groups and individuals" calls for an end to Operation Dulcet, which has led to the prosecution of people involved in flag protests and claims: "We believe strongly that this is a waste of time, to engage now with the PSNI would be highly inappropriate."

The declaration goes on to call on all loyalist groups to disengage with the PSNI until "such times as political policing stops in this province".

Chief Constable Matt Baggot said he agreed to participate in the initiative in the hope that it could lead to a more peaceful marching season.

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