Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Union flag protester Jamie Bryson's hunger strike ends with an Indian curry

Jamie Bryson


Spokesman Jamie Bryson.



Loyalists have been protesting across Northern Ireland after Belfast City Council restricted the number of days the Union Flag can fly over Belfast City Hall.



There have been 39 days of protests over Belfast City Council's decision to fly the flag on designated days only.



Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Jamie Bryson
Jamie Bryson is the IFA Northern Ireland mascot.
Jamie Bryson posts a message on Facebook.
Ulster Peoples forum and concerned residents of East Belfast hold a press conference at the Con Club in East Belfast. Jamie Bryson (Chairman) and WIllie Fraser.

Union flag protest leader Jamie ‘Biryani' Bryson's much-heralded hunger-strike lasted less than half a day.

The baby-faced loyalist asked cops at Belfast's Musgrave PSNI station to get him an Indian takeaway after his arrest in Bangor last week.

Hours earlier Bryson's pastor pal Mark Gordon — in whose house he was captured — told the media that the 23-year-old was on a “hunger and thirst strike”.

But lying in a lonely police cell with his stomach rumbling a starving Bryson asked the custody sergeant to order him a takeaway.

The laughable episode has led loyalists to brand him ‘Jamie Biryani'.

“Everyone is joking about wee Jamie getting lifted and how he is sharing a cell in Maghaberry Prison with Willie ‘The Taser' Frazer,” said a UVF source.

Prominent flag protesters Bryson and Frazer are being held together on the remand wing of the high-security jail on public order offences.

Frazer, 52, faces a separate charge of possession of a Taser stun-gun following a police search at his Markethill home.

Pastor Mark Gordon, who has been communicating with the pair, told Sunday Life that Bryson was disappointed he did not get High Court bail on Friday.

He said: “Jamie is keeping his chin up and getting on with it. He knows this was a political decision.”

Gordon also dismissed suggestions Bryson was arrested by cops who caught him cowering in the corner of a loft at his Bangor home.

“Jamie was not hiding in a locked attic, he was in a converted roof-space we use as a bedroom and the door was not locked,” added Gordon.

“He was arrested at my house by arrangement with police. I have been working with police for the past 20 years, but on this occasion I feel as though I've been knifed in the back because what took place has been totally misrepresented.”

Meanwhile TUV leader Jim Allister has vowed to give PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott a taste of “reality” tomorrow.

For he revealed that he is to confront the top cop about loyalist allegations that the law is unfairly treating them.

With Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson in custody, it was left to the North Antrim MLA to address the crowd at the regular Union flag protest rally at Belfast City Hall yesterday.

An estimated 200 people heard Mr Allister accuse the PSNI of political bias — after cops opposed bail for Frazer in the same week that bail was granted to south Armagh republican Sean Gerard Hughes.

Said Mr Allister: “That shows political bias from the police and that is not perception. That is reality.

“The political bias, the partiality of policing is not a perception. It is real.

“On Monday afternoon, I am due to see the Chief Constable.

“I will not be talking to him about perception. I will be talking to him about reality.”

Protesters carried banners from areas including the lower Shankill, The Village and Shore Road.

Some people in the crowd stuck luggage labels with the words ‘end political oppression’ across their mouths.

Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan, whose current tour show makes barbed comments about the flags controversy, walked through the crowd with a bemused look on his face.

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