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Rally in Ulster Hall is a chance to resist Brexit deal: Jamie Bryson

Event: Jamie Bryson
Event: Jamie Bryson
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Loyalist rally will be held in the Ulster Hall tonight in opposition to Boris Johnson's Brexit withdrawal deal.

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It is understood the event, billed as Stop the Betrayal Act: Preserve the Union, has been organised by a group from the Shankill area, which has chosen not to speak to the media ahead of the event.

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson is attending the ticketed event, which he expects will be sold out, but was not involved in the organisation.

He said he was not due to speak at the event and was unaware if any elected representatives would be attending.

The rally follows a series of smaller meetings in recent weeks to object to the Prime Minister's Brexit deal which some loyalists believe would place a regulatory border in the Irish Sea, claiming it amounts to an economic united Ireland.

"It's a group of young unionists who have come together to organise this," Mr Bryson said.

"The whole idea around the recent 'Betrayal Act' meetings is to empower people and encourage new faces within unionism, so it's excellent people have come together to organise this event."

Mr Bryson also said the organisers would reveal more details about the event in due course. "The organisers have kept the details quite tight, I suppose to keep the surprise for on the night. So it wouldn't be for me to speak for them.

"The feelings across the loyalist and unionist community (over the Brexit deal) hasn't changed, I think the message from the very first meeting in the Con club hasn't changed.

"People are not prepared to accept an economic united Ireland."

Loyalists have staged several major rallies at the Ulster Hall over the years.

In 1912, thousands gathered in support of Sir Edward Carson before the signing of the Ulster Covenant, which was marked again in the same venue a century later.

The DUP also chaired an invitation-only protest in 1986 against the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The meeting was used to announce the formation of the Ulster Resistance paramilitary movement.

The late DUP leader Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson were both photographed at the time wearing a red beret of the militant group which ultimately failed to attract a widespread membership.

Mr Bryson added: "The Ulster Hall is obviously an iconic venue and this is another meeting to resist the 'Betrayal Act'.

"So I would say well done to the people who have organised this and hope it's a fantastic and successful evening."

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