Six men appear in court over illegal march in Lurgan
Six men appeared in court yesterday following a dissident republican Easter parade in Lurgan on Saturday.
A police officer told the court that all six were members of a colour party and were wearing paramilitary clothing, sunglasses, berets and belts.
Up to 20 supporters packed the small courtroom in Lisburn Magistrates Court amid a heavy police presence.
They were accused of taking part in an unnotified public procession and having clothing or articles as a member or a supporter of an illegal organisation.
The six men are: Eamon Green (30) from Falls Road, Belfast; Christopher Hamill (28) from Lurgan Tarry in Lurgan; Martin Conlon (48) from Tarry Drive in Lurgan; Emmet Donnan (30) from Colin Mill in Dunmurry; Matthew O'Donnell (39) from Lislane Drive in Derry and Gary Doherty (36) from Old Mountfield in Omagh.
Hamill faces further charges of assault on police. All six defendants refused to answer the court clerk when asked if they understood the charges against them.
Two legal representatives were forced to confirm their identities to Judge Amanda Henderson when they ignored the clerk's requests. All men were casually dressed in grey tracksuits and green T-shirts, while one wore a top with Eire emblazoned on the back.
A police officer told the court that he was fully aware of the facts of the case and believed he could connect the suspects to the charges.
He told the court: "All six defendants were arrested at a dissident Easter parade that took place at Levin Road in Lurgan.
"All were members of the colour party."
He said that the men were arrested at the parade while speeches were ongoing. He said that police issued warnings to the group.
"A warning was given to the people we believed who organised the parade that it was illegal and unlawful," he added.
"All six were arrested by police wearing berets, scarves, sunglasses and belts."
The officer explained to the court that the men were carrying flags of the four provinces, as well as the Starry Plough and the Irish national flag.
He added that it was part of the ongoing dissident parades at Easter and similar marches took place in Milltown in west Belfast and Dublin.
He continued: "No notification was given to the Parades Commission and warnings were given to them.
"They were marching in a formation with masks on. During police questioning, five made absolutely no comments while another gave a no comment interview."
The parades were part of a proscribed organisation, he also told the court.
All six were granted their own bail of £500, to reside at an address suitable to police, not to be within 200 metres of an unnotified procession or parade, a curfew of 6am and not to contact any of the other defendants.
Judge Henderson added that three of the defendants had "extremely limited records".
All defendants were granted legal aid and the case was adjourned until April 27.