THOUSANDS of loyalists took to Belfast’s Shankill Road on Saturday for a huge band parade to commemorate murdered UVF leader Trevor King.
A change in coronavirus regulations 24-hours earlier meant the event did not breach guidelines limiting the amount of people that can gather outdoors.
Twenty-five bands from across Northern Ireland and Scotland took part, with organisers telling the Parades Commission they expected 3,000 participants.
A UVF colour party wearing black military-style uniforms and monkey-hats marched in between the hundreds of musicians.
SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly had expressed concerned that the parade could be a virus ‘super-spreader’ event as it brought together people from across Northern Ireland and Scotland.
UVF gunman King was fatally wounded by the INLA in a 1994 attack that also claimed the lives of loyalists Colin ‘Crazy’ Craig (31) and David Hamilton (43). The 41-year-old was paralysed from the neck down and died three weeks later in hospital.
At the time of his death he was ‘military commander’ of the UVF’s 1st Battalion on Belfast’s Shankill Road.
The UVF responded to the multiple shooting by carrying out the Loughinisland massacre of six Catholic footballs fans watching Ireland play Italy in the World Cup.
As a teenager King took part in the 1972 Battle of Springmartin between the UVF, British Army and IRA that left seven people dead following a two day gun battle.
He was later named by loyalist supergrass John Gibson as the UVF hitman who murdered innocent Catholics Gerard McCleneghan and Anthony Molloy in 1975. However, the case against him collapsed when Gibson retracted his evidence.