12 are held after illegal dissident parade in Lurgan
DUP MLA welcomes police action
Unionists last night welcomed a series of arrests following an illegal dissident republican parade in Lurgan's Kilwilkie estate.
Twelve people were held after police swooped on a minibus as it left the Co Armagh town heading south.
It is understood that all of those held were from the Republic.
The parade was held on Saturday afternoon to mark the opening of a 1916 centenary garden in memory of republicans who had died going back as far as local man Edward Costello, who was killed in the Easter Rising.
There was a large security presence in Kilwilkie as a group of uniformed and masked men paraded. In their ranks was a boy wearing similar paramilitary-style clothing.
Several announcements made by police regarding illegal public processions were ignored and the masked colour party, accompanied by the Martyrs of Erin band from Bellaghy, marched through the area.
Police said on Saturday that following the "unnotified parade" 12 men were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Public Processions Act.
Yesterday the PSNI said a man aged 51 had been charged with taking part in an unnotified public procession and was expected to appear at Craigavon Magistrates Court on June 22.
Nine others were released on police bail to return at a later date, and two were released unconditionally.
Upper Bann DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said it was welcome news that the PSNI had made a dozen arrests.
She added: "It is sickening to see once again on the streets of Lurgan an illegal parade glorifying terrorism and the barbaric acts of the past.
"It is also alarming and obnoxious to see the use of children to humanise their brutal campaign of terror. North Lurgan has, and is, moving on, and the harsh reality for these people is that they are in the minority.
"People do not want this on their streets.
"I welcome the police arrests for this illegal activity and look forward to convictions."
Des Dalton, the president of Republican Sinn Fein, who spoke at the Lurgan event, said the arrests "shows the reality of British rule in Ireland".
He added: "It also gives the lie to those who say that the 'six county state' is a normal democratic society.
"Arbitrary arrest and internment continue to be used against Irish republicans for simply commemorating our patriot dead."