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Police warning as 58 arrests made over dissident parades

By Cate McCurry

Published 03/08/2016

A PSNI Land Rover comes under attack from rioters in the Lake Street area of Lurgan on Easter Monday
A PSNI Land Rover comes under attack from rioters in the Lake Street area of Lurgan on Easter Monday

Almost 60 people have been arrested after dissident republican violence erupted following a number of banned parades earlier this year.

Police have vowed that more arrests will be made as investigations continue to unmask the people involved in the rioting after the Easter Rising demonstrations in Lurgan.

A van was hijacked and set on fire, and police were attacked with petrol bombs in the Kilwilkie area of the Co Armagh town.

The violence also affected the Easter Monday train services.

Balaclava-clad youths threw stones at police and set a wheelie bin alight in the area on Easter Monday.

Two months later, masked men took part in an unnotified dissident republican parade in the same Lurgan area on May 28.

A number of children were spotted in the parade organised by Republican Sinn Fein, to unveil a memorial garden in the town as part of the Easter Rising commemorations.

Police in Craigavon posted a statement on their Facebook page describing the perpetrators as "cowards".

The comical post branded the so-called leader of the riots "Dissident Dan" who they accused of "dragging" youths into the violence.

"True to form, Dan and his goons contributed to their communities in the only way they know how, with intimidatory gatherings, violence, disruption, and creating fear for locals," the post said.

"Unfortunately during that they also managed to drag several youngsters into the fray, encouraging them to get involved in violence and action against their own communities. Those youngsters were then abandoned by Dissident Dan and his mob to take the fall.

"Between the unnotified parades on March 26 and May 28, and the rioting on March 28, we have now either arrested and charged or interviewed and reported 58 people. It is worth noting that many of those charged are not even from Lurgan."

The post also said youths involved in the rioting or who were asked to take part should "do something positive" with their lives.

"No doubt you were told by people you thought were 'big men' that they were with you, you were doing a good thing, and that you were defending your community?"

Officers branded the men who orchestrated the violence as "nothing but wee boys" who represent "no one's interests but their own and who "care about no one else".

"They won't be with you in the dock in court," the post continued.

"If you're sent to jail they won't be with you there. They weren't with you during interview either.

"In court you may be given a second chance.

"If you are, use it. Put it down to experience and move on with creating something positive for yourself in life that will contribute to your community, rather than drag it back.

"Don't listen to the morons who slither about in shadows. They've abandoned you once to do their dirty work, don't let them do that to you again.

"You are worth more. These actions have consequences, and the further down that path you go, the harsher the consequences become."

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