Brother of loyalist murder victim disrupts NI Protocol protest
The brother of a paramilitary murder victim disrupted a loyalist protest against the Brexit protocol in Northern Ireland.
Gareth McCord interrupted the small protest outside Irish government offices in Belfast organized by the Loyalist Communities Council – an umbrella group representing loyalist paramilitaries.
Mr McCord’s brother Raymond was beaten to death by an Ulster Volunteer Force gang in north Belfast in 1997.
Holding a picture of his brother, he confronted LCC chairman David Campbell, just moments after he and former Unionist Ulster MP and Ukip NI leader David McNarry unfurled an anti-protocol banner outside the offices of the Irish Secretariat.
Mr McCord scoffed at the scale of the protest and said it demonstrated that the LCC had no support within loyalist communities.
“Nobody wants you, get out,” he said.
A police officer intervened during the exchanges and urged people to follow the regulations and guidelines of Covid-19.
The protest came as loyalists vowed to resume protest action against post-Brexit trade deals which have created new barriers and bureaucracy in trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Loyalists say the Northern Ireland protocol has undermined the region’s place in the Union.
They had temporarily suspended protests after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.
On Sunday evening, banners similar to the one displayed by Mr Campbell and Mr McNarry were erected in several loyalist areas in Northern Ireland.
The banners accuse the British and Irish government, the European Commission and the US administration of not listening to loyalist concerns, and warn politicians are faced with a choice between the 1998 Good Friday peace deal and the Protocol.
Earlier this month riots broke out in a number of working class loyalist areas across Northern Ireland.
Mr. Campbell said all protests should be peaceful.
“There are other people making similar peaceful symbolic protests today across Northern Ireland, in London and even Dublin itself and we hope this sends a message to anyone looking to protest violently to stay at home. – you do not support our cause ”, he mentioned.
Mr McNarry insisted that the scale of the protest at the Irish Secretariat reflected the public health situation.
“If these had been normal times, David and I would have been two out of a hundred thousand people on the streets today and on the streets for many nights, protesting peacefully and demanding that our rights be recognized,” he said. declared.
Loyalists’ anger at the Protocol was cited as one of the main factors behind the violence that erupted earlier this month.
Another was the decision not to prosecute 24 members of Sinn Fein for Covid-19 violations after attending mass Republican funerals during the pandemic.
Some loyalists have also long feared that they have missed out on the gains from the peace process in areas such as jobs, investment and housing.
Nationalists reject the arguments and insist that their communities experience just as many problems of poverty.