Jamie Bryson to address Markethill protest - urges next DUP leader to ‘break a little delph’
Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson says he is to speak at a protest event against the Irish Sea customs border and ‘two-tier policing’ in Markethill tonight.
Posters have been erected advertising the event as “A peaceful expression of community feeling”, calling for social distancing during the event and warning: “Troublemakers not welcome”.
Mr Bryson told the News Letter he was contacted by organisers in the town whom he knows, having spoken in the town previously.
The event comes after a number of parades in the town which organisers claimed were subject to disproportionate policing. However police warned that they were in breach of Covid regulations, with parades still not allowed under Covid regulations.
Mr Bryson said: “The recent protests in Markethill were subject to disproportionate policing.”
He claimed Covid regulations have no power to amend parading legislation and that the recent parades in the town had been notified to the Parades Commission.
“I accept that the police take a different view on this though”.
Police have advised previous parades to disband, warning that no parades are yet allowed under Covid regulations.
He did not know if there will be a parade in Markethill tonight but added: “If there is I would not condemn it”.But he added: “Peaceful protest is the only way to go and anyone who attends should adhere to social distancing. They are being very responsible. Policing should be proportionate in light of that.”
The loyalist activist has been speaking out in the media on the DUP leadership race.
“The next DUP leader should break the law - technically - regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and resist its implementation. Whoever it is needs to break a little delph.”
He noted that Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots would likely still be in that position next week - where he has responsibility for administering the protocol on the ground at Larne port - regardless of whether or not he wins the party leadership race.
“I don’t purport to have an elected mandate but everyone is entitled to express a view,” Mr Bryson said.
“Whether people want to listen to me or not is entirely up to them”.
He dismissed any suggestion that various loyalist paramilitary organisations had been attempting to influence the DUP leadership race.
“But loyalists are entitled to express a view on these matters just as every other citizen is. And we should not forget that the IRA Army Council is still playing a very active role in Northern Ireland politics.”
NI Direct currently gives guidelines on what size of public meetings are currently allowed.
Further Irish Sea border protests are expected tonight, Thursday, in Carrickfergus, in Antrim tomorrow, Friday, and in north Down over the weekend.
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