Seething loyalist who threatened Andytown News reporter claims parade is set to erupt

A burly loyalist threatened an Andersonstown News reporter at a protest yesterday over the Parades Commission decision to ban an Orange parade from the Springfield Road this Saturday.

And the roly-poly thug went on to warn that loyalists were “prepared for anything” ahead of the banned parade, which many fear may end in violence.

Around 150 loyalists caused teatime traffic chaos when they blocked the Springfield Road in torrential rain yesterday carrying placards blasting the Parades Commission.

But a spokesman for nationalist residents said he remained hopeful that the weekend would pass off peacefully.


Loyalist protesters blocked the Springfield Road yesterday as unionist politicians warned that violent scenes could accompany Saturday’s parade.

The protest, which included about 150 protesters from the Shankill and Springmartin areas, formed a white line picket along the Springfield Road before blocking the road at the West Circular roundabout causing traffic chaos.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, the protesters said they were “prepared for anything” ahead of this Saturday’s parade.

“This road doesn’t belong to them [nationalists], we have the right to walk along it if we want,” said a protester.

“We want to live in peace and don’t want trouble on Saturday, but we think there will be.

“Sinn Féin told them not to start any trouble last year because of the elections but there will be rioting this summer, no matter what.”

As the protesters blocked the road one loyalist threatened this Andersonstown News journalist and photographer – right under the noses of the PSNI.

“There are people over there who want to come and rip you two apart and I’m not going to stop them. If you don’t f**k off from here now you’ll know all about it.”

Since the announcement by the Parades Commission that Saturday’s parade would not be allowed to pass Workman Avenue and along the nationalist stretch of the Springfield Road there has been angry reaction from unionist politicians.

On Wednesday morning a delegation of unionists led by UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey handed in a letter of protest to the Parades Commission.
Chris McGimpsey said they were handing in a letter to formally request a review of the decision.

"We believe it is wrongheaded, could potentially erode what community relations have been built up on the Springfield Road and is a decision which may well kick us off into a very hot summer," he said.

"We think it is a very poor decision and we will be demanding it be reviewed and rescinded."

Earlier in the week DUP leader Ian Paisley called the decision "disastrous and unacceptable" and said it could heighten tensions.

Mr Paisley said: "Anything could happen on Saturday."

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said: “The Ulster Unionist Party would call on everyone involved who has influence to hold their nerve and do all they can to reduce the heat in their community.”

Despite this, nationalist residents said they still hoped the parade will pass off peacefully.

Sean Paul O’Hare said: “We would call on unionist political leaders to use their influence to diffuse tensions rather than provoke them. And we would say to the Orange Order it is still not too late to enter into dialogue, the door is still open.

“Nationalist residents do not want trouble, they want the parade to pass off peacefully and without incident.”

Journalist:: Allison Morris

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