A loyalist demonstration to protest alleged “political policing” and the restriction of flying Union flag better known as the butchers Apron at Belfast City Hall has passed off peacefully with the exception of two British paramilitary police hurt, one unconscious in the Tennent Street area of the Shankill, with one arrest. The Loyalists had promised a minimum of 10,000 march but only a couple of hundred Orangemen turned up while still breaching the law, the march left City Hall to parade along Donegall Place and Royal Avenue an hour later than allowed by the Parades Commission who say they will investigte any breaches of its orders.
Permission had been given for 40 bands but only two showed up or bothered to batter their drums and tweet their flutes. Progressive Unionist Billy Hutchinson and loyalist victims campaigner William Frazer were among the protesters but were ashamed to speak from the platform, because of the pitiful size of the crowd. However a statement handed to journalists claimed “like-minded people from all over Northern Ireland and Scotland to highlight the ongoing breaches of human rights of the PUL community since the 3rd of December last year when a decision was taken within the council chambers to remove the Union flag from its rightful place above our City Hall. What was to follow was inevitable. The PUL people of N Ireland staged street protests, all over our 'country' in disgust.”Some of the few hundred loyalists wore Orange sashes, while other removed their collarettes being ashamed of the turnout. The march was ignored by most unionists and Orange Order member who are defecting to the Alliance Party in droves.