A member of the European Parliament has called for police to investigate a speech by a loyalist spokesman in which he warned that Protestants will be “coming after” the PSNI.
At a march in Londonderry on Sunday, former Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) — which provided political advice to the UDA— member David Nicholl accused the police of being “the IRA” and appeared to threaten riots on the city’s streets.
Addressing the crowd of several hundred people, Mr Nicholl laid out marchers’ demands which he said were “freedom, justice, equality and democracy”.
Mr Nicholl said: “The police had better learn that you don't batter Protestants and get away with it. We will be coming after you.
“You are not the RUC — you are the IRA.”
The protest in the Waterside area of Derry coincided with the annual Bloody Sunday march, and loyalist speakers tried to draw parallels with the civil rights campaign by nationalists in the early days of the Troubles.
“Remembering the ’68 civil rights march in Duke Street and the riots that ensued — well if you want a riot we will give it to you,” Mr Nicholl said.
However, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson — a former member of the Policing Board — said she expected the PSNI to investigate.
“I think those sort of inflammatory comments will be picked up on by the PSNI.
“The PSNI will deal with that and deal with those comments which appear to be threatening in their tone.
“If he said those words as reported then the police may consider them an incitement to riot, to hurt people.
“In terms of identity, there must be mutual respect for both Irish and British identity.
“I don’t think David Nicholl’s views are shared by the vast majority of Unionist people,” Ms Anderson said.
While calling for future protests to be peaceful, loyalist victims campaigner Willie Frazer also warned that there was still the potential for trouble.
He directed much of what he said to the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.
“I say this to ‘Machine Gun’ Martin, and those who are hunting down the paratroopers, ‘Who is hunting down Martin?’
“Martin and Gerry (Adams) will never take this country from us. We need to keep this peaceful, but just because we are keeping it peaceful we are not saying we are afraid to fight.
“We are not going to be walked on and that goes for the Provos and the PSNI.
“If you want a fight we will give it to you,” the victims rights campaigner said.
Following a number of shouts of ‘no surrender' after Mr Nicholl’s speech, the crowd dispersed peacefully.
There had been fears of violence after several Parachute Regiment flags appeared in the Fountain Estate and Drumahoe village in the weeks ahead of the march.
All but one were removed along the route of the march. Organisers had asked that no Parachute Regiment flags were brought to the protest and this was adhered to and the only flag being carried by marchers was the Union flag.
A spokesman for the Army had said that any unauthorised use of the regimental flag was inappropriate, irresponsible and disrespectful.
Several hundred people walked behind a banner which read ‘The Innocent Victims of Ulster Cry Out for Justice' along a route which took them from Bond Street along Glendermott Road up to the Irish Street estate before making its way to the grounds of the Waterside health centre.
Organisers had initially wanted to congregate at Ebrington Square but strong objections from urban regeneration company Ilex against the use of the square for any political purpose resulted in the revised route.
The crowd was also addressed by Henry Reilly, a Ukip councillor for Newry and Mourne.