Police refute Watton’s comments

PUP councillor Russell Watton
PUP councillor Russell Watton

PUP councillor Russell Watton has commended all those involved in the Twelfth demonstration in Coleraine.

The Coleraine man said: “The day itself passed off peacefully once again, but my attention has been drawn to the heavy handed tactics of the PSNI Tactical Support Group who seem to have behaved in an aggressive manner towards spectators standing outside bars in the town.

“Dozens of angry people have asked if they were there to prevent violence or create it. If we contrast this with the sickening images aired on social media over the last few days of masked terrorists freely firing a volley of shots over a coffin in broad daylight or a massive display of strength by dozens of masked individuals in full paramilitary gear openly walking through the streets of Londonderry with not a TSG in sight.”

In response to cllr Watton, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray said: “I refute any allegation of aggression on the part of police officers in Coleraine during the twelfth celebrations.

“We had an operation in place which was aimed at keeping people safe as they enjoyed the day. That operation was successful and our officers engaged well with parade organisers and participants in the run up to Monday 13 July and on the day itself. Cllr Watton has described the twelfth celebrations as a success, and I believe that most people appreciate the positive role police played in that success. The issues associated with a small minority of parades in other parts of Northern Ireland do not impact Coleraine in any significant way. This should be acknowledged and welcomed by community leaders and elected representatives, rather than focusing on the apparent anger of a minority.”