Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer arrested 'for breaching bail terms'

By Anna Maguire and Maria Marsella

Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has been arrested after being seen in the vicinity of a protest for the fourth time in two months.

The 53-year-old – who is currently on bail on charges related to Union flag protests – was in the vicinity of yesterday's protest against the Parades Commission outside Stormont's Parliament Buildings.

He was arrested on east Belfast's Newtownards Road yesterday afternoon.

Mr Frazer's bail conditions prohibit him from going within two miles of public protests.

Last month he was arrested following a protest against plans to build a peace centre at the site of the former Maze Prison.

District Judge Connor told a subsequent court hearing: "I am driven towards the conclusion Mr Frazer is drawn to these protests whether telepathically or otherwise."

Police also told the court last month that Mr Frazer had been spotted by officers near two previous demonstrations on June 13 and 14.

Yesterday, a police spokesman said: "Police have arrested a 53-year-old man on suspicion of breach of bail conditions.

"There are no further details at this time."

Police outnumbered protesters at yesterday's rally calling for the Parades Commission to be dissolved.

A group of around 40 protesters handed over a letter to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister at Stormont – as MLAs inside Parliament Buildings debated sustained rioting in Belfast.

Protesters insisted that a public body which has lost the confidence of the majority is not fit for purpose, calling for an urgent alternative to the "out of touch" Parades Commission.

But despite stinging criticism, the group was unable to offer ideas around an alternative to the independent body.

"I think it's going to require discussion and we are open to ideas about that. But it (an alternative) has to command the support of those who organise marches," Winston Irvine from the Progressive Unionist Party said.

The protest, which was organised by the PUP's Women's Commission, was also attended by Johnny Harvey, who came to prominence during the flag protests, a small number of Orangemen and the Shankill Women's Resistance Group.

Protesters condemned the Parades Commission for its "suicidal decision" to prevent marchers from passing Ardoyne shop fronts, days before the contentious Twelfth parade.

They also criticised the PSNI for resorting to "political policing".

Standing at the doors of Stormont, the PUP's Women's Commission demanded political leadership.

"We would like to see unionist politicians standing beside the people on the streets and to stop condemning us," Roberta McCartney from the group said.

Meanwhile, leading flag protester Jamie Bryson (23) failed in a bid to be allowed to attend yesterday's special Stormont debate after a judge ruled his presence could spark further disruptions.

Belfast Telegraph


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