Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Senior Orangeman says 'upscaled' loyalist protests could involve 'civil disobedience'

Leading Orangeman William Mawhinney, County Grand Secretary of Belfast District, addresses loyalist protesters at Woodvale.
Leading Orangeman William Mawhinney, County Grand Secretary of Belfast District, addresses loyalist protesters at Woodvale.
DUP William Humpries and Nelson McCausland with Leading Orangemen George Chittick and William Mawhinney address the protesters at the Woodvale Protest.
The loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue. Photo Jonathan Porter/Presseye.

A senior Orangeman has called on loyalists to increase their protests "right up to civil disobedience".

William Mawhinney was speaking to a crowd of about 500 people who were demonstrating over parade restrictions on the Woodvale Road on Saturday.

The County Grand Secretary in Belfast said: "When the time is right we will probably upscale our protests and that's just what we intend to do, upscale them right up until civil disobedience if that's what it takes."

He added: "The camp and the protests continue as strongly as they ever did from when they first began."

The Orange Order has been staging a protest in the Woodvale area every Saturday since its Twelfth of July parade was stopped earlier this year.

That parade was stopped returning along part of the Crumlin Road separating loyalist and nationalist communities. Several nights of violence ensued.

The three Ligoniel Lodges had applied to march on Saturday along the part of the route they were banned from on 12 July, which goes past the Ardoyne shop fronts.

An earlier application for a morning parade was also rejected.

Marchers and protestors stopped at police lines in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Parades Commission.

Mr Mawhinney was flanked by a number of politicians, including Nelson McCausland of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The following morning, senior DUP MLA Arlene Foster appeared on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme, where she insisted protests must be peaceful.

Ms Foster, Northern Ireland's enterprise minister, said: "We very much defend the right of people to protest on any issue.

"But what must happen, and I do make this very clear, is that people must remain within the law of the land when they engage in protest," she said.

"Some people, during the flags protest, went out to protest and things went further than they should have gone and therefore those young people now have a criminal conviction

"I do not want to see young people, whether in Belfast or anywhere else in Northern Ireland, blighted with a criminal conviction for something that they will regret for the rest of their lives."

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