Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents defiant over Derry parade after police warns it's unlawful

Police have warned organisers that they must notify the Parades Commission about Monday's march otherwise it is unlawful (stock photo)
Police have warned organisers that they must notify the Parades Commission about Monday's march otherwise it is unlawful (stock photo)
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

Tensions are rising ahead of Monday's dissident republican Easter commemoration in Londonderry, which last year was marred by serious rioting.

The Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee's Easter Monday rally saw masked men march through the streets of Creggan as dozens of youths pelted the PSNI with bricks, bottles and petrol bombs.

Police have warned organisers that they must notify the Parades Commission about Monday's march otherwise it is unlawful.

However, the Derry 1916 Commemoration Committee has insisted that if officers move in "the blame for any acts of resistance rests with them alone".

In a statement, the committee said: "Lately we have been delivered certain ultimatums regarding our commemoration; we reject these totally.

"Republicans have always honoured the patriots of 1916 along with every patriot who has fallen since. We want a dignified procession and we call on community leaders to ensure that British Crown Forces exercise common sense.

"This is a republican commemoration in the middle of Creggan, a community that has stood tall throughout this ongoing struggle, a community that has earned the respect of Irish republicans the world over.

"If British Crown Forces saturate and hem in this community with armoured jeeps and armed British terrorists then the blame for any acts of resistance rests with them alone.

"The republican community will defend the people and defend the people's right to march in an honourable and dignified manner to commemorate our republican dead."

The statement was signed off with 'Tiocfaidh ar la' (Our day will come), a slogan commonly associated with the Provisional IRA.

PSNI Superintendent Alan Hutton said if no application was made for the parade, then it is unlawful and his officers will fulfil their "legal obligation".

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: "People are entitled to commemorate and remember people who have died.

"But it has to be done in a peaceful manner that is respectful of the wider community.

"The scenes that we witnessed last year were completely unacceptable and were condemned by the majority of people.

"We don't want to see a repeat of that and I think those who are intent on causing trouble should stay away and allow those who want to conduct themselves peacefully to carry off the event in that manner."

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