Royal British Legion plea for end to Lidl poppy protests
The Royal British Legion has called for an end to protests at a Lidl store because of anger over a ban on the sale of poppies.
Dozens of people held a demonstration outside the Shore Road outlet in north Belfast on Tuesday night to express their anger over the company's stance.
Protesters claimed the discounter said poppies could not be sold by British Legion representatives, even through sellers were permitted to do so on two occasions last week.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, a retired soldier, who asked not to be named, said plans to boycott local Lidl stores were afoot.
"People are very angry at the position Lidl has taken on this," he said.
"No one is asking the supermarket to support the British Legion, we're just asking them to allow volunteers to sell poppies in their shops."
A Lidl Northern Ireland spokeswoman said the store had agreed to support a cancer charity that helps children and young people, adding that it wasn't "feasible" to back every good cause.
"Lidl Northern Ireland has committed to a two-year charity partnership with CLIC Sargent focusing on a number of key initiatives," she said.
"We respect and applaud the fantastic work done by the many charities across Northern Ireland, however, it is not feasible to support all of them."
Meanwhile, Brian Maguire, area manager for the Royal British Legion, said the Poppy Appeal was "a time for remembrance, not for protest".
"Any attempt to use the poppy as a basis for protest is extremely inappropriate and demonstrates a misunderstanding of what the poppy stands for," he said.