“It was dignified, it was silent, it didn’t intimidate anybody”

According to the BBC report, the UDA-linked UPRG in the area have claimed that a gathering of 150 loyalists in Londonderry on Thursday, who “walked around mainly loyalist housing estates in the Waterside for two hours before dispersing”, was not a show of strength. Rather it was a protest against “most unionist politicians [who] have abandoned grass roots loyalist communities.”

“It was dignified, it was silent, it didn’t intimidate anybody,” said David Malcolm, regional secretary of the Ulster Political Research Group.

That would be the same regional UPRG who have “withdrawn their support for political institutions and the PSNI”. According to the same BBC report, “The police said they monitored the group throughout and no offences were committed and no complaints were made by the public.” Perhaps they were just “volunteers patrolling” in the area.. Of course Derry, and Ardoyne, have seen similar displays before.

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  • Mark McGregor

    I notice the PSNI didn’t think this warranted the jeeps and riot squad deployed against éirígí when they technically breeched parades legislation recently. A text book demonstration of ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ from the RUC in new uniforms.

  • Pete Baker

    That incident did cross my mind while I was preparing the post, Mark.

    But, perhaps, they kept to the footpaths? ;o)

  • Mark McGregor

    Of course all 150 Loyalists could have not set a single foot on the road at any point bypassing the RUC/PSNI/PC form on these issues. I doubt it though. Looks more like they allowed this demonstration from Loyalists over ‘whatever’ while previously being well up for driving republican protest off the streets.

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    I’d humbly suggest it’s a straight-forward public order consideration.

    The éirígí protest could be, and was, stopped – on whatever pretext – because the destination was known. No doubt previous protests were also taken into account.

    On this occasion the police monitored from a distance to ensure that they could take action if any criminal acts took place.

    We might not like those decisions. But there is a logic to them.

  • Mark, it’s difficult to make sense of many policing responses. Perhaps London and Dublin have decided that the right sort of republican paramilitaries (viz PRM) have a say in community control; ditto for loyalist paramilitaries. Éirígí is outside the tent.

  • “We might not like those decisions.”

    Do you know who made them, Pete?

  • Driftwood

    Mark McGregor
    Did the PSNI use ‘jeeps’? Excellent. Much less intimidating than modern armoured Land Rovers.
    I bought a 1944 US Army ‘jeep’ in 1982 and helped restore it with a good mechanic, sold it in 1985, but wished I hadn’t. Star on the bonnet, jerry can at the rear, the works.

    Very few about now – discounting the sad ‘new’ Chrysler 4X4 joke of an ‘off roader’.

    Any pics of the jeep(s)?

  • Mark McGregor

    Driftwood,

    You add little of any value to the site despite the amount of time you waste for us and youself but at least we know there is one topic you will comment on like an adult – big trucks.

  • Pete Baker

    With all due respect, Mark.

    It’s not up to you to judge whether any particular commentor adds value to the site.

    There’s been a few too many judgemental comments on comments recently, imho.

  • Driftwood

    Jeep isn’t a ‘big truck’ ‘Mark’.

    But WW2 vehicles are a penchant for me. Why not use the correct term referring?

    As for timewasting, your eirigi pals seem to do a lot of police timewasting. Except your mate ‘Colin’. He keeps them well occupied.
    For good reason?
    code word here ‘guilty’ Hmmm…

  • Glensman

    In fairness Driftwood is a pain in the arse and we do end up ‘drifting’ off topic almost every time he posts.

    In fairness though a Jeep isn’t a big truck- see, off topic!

  • Glensman

    #10 Why is Mark posted as ‘Mark’? Is there some doubt as to Mark’s real name?

    Perhaps it’s all a branch conspiracy to see if anyone supports ‘dissident’ republicans!

  • Glencloy

    And of course there was the completely unreported show oof strength in Larne the night they beat up the fellow and dropped a TV on his head

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘It’s not up to you to judge whether any particular commentor adds value to the site.’

    He didn’t judge Pete, merely gave his opinion, which as a contributor he seems more than entitled to do.

  • Jim

    This is what happens when you have a loose para organisation like the UDA. Every Godfather runs his own patch and acts as he pleases. The Mexican is not going to be told what to do by Belfast as the organisation never had that central structure in the first place. The UDA are not on ceasefire up there in Derry/Coleaine/Ballymena etc and i would expect another sectarian killing up there very soon.

    Mark’s point is correct the PSNI should get tougher with this organisataion as they along with Eirigi are both trying to bring us back into the dark ages.

  • Dave

    It’s true that working-class loyalists are not represented by the two middle-class right-wing unionist parties, whereas working-class nationalists are well represented by two left-wing parties. The effect of that is bound to be that working-class loyalists are losing out due to nobody in power caring representing their interests. Since the State is now carved up along sectarian lines, there is bound to be a suspicion among working-class loyalists that the other tribe has its snout deep in the trough and that benefits are being distributed along sectarian rather than secular lines. It’s odd that there are no right-wing nationalist parties, but that is probably due to the promotion of a state-dependency culture that is required to maintain the constitutional status quo. The message from the loyalists seems to be that, while the State doesn’t need to pamper them to keep them in the union, it does need pay some attention to working-class deprivation because, if it doesn’t, then the result will be a growing disenfranchisement from society and a growing sense of disillusion with the ‘peace process’ along with a growth in support for loyalist paramilitaries.

    Anyway, enjoy the Leonard Cohen concert tonight night, Driftwood.

  • Dave

    Too many typos above to correct, but just to add that the suspicion is not just that largess is being distributed along sectarian rather than secular lines but that it is also being distributed along class lines within that devide.

  • Jim

    Dave

    I enjoyed your post however is the problem in working-class loyalist areas not a lack of community organisation and a belief in education compared to Republican and Nationalist community? Is there any moves whithin the Unionist/Loyalist community for a left-wing party?

    Coming from a Nationalist Background i feel the problem at the moment is in education. When out of the top ten schools in league tables seven are ccms and the year before it was nine is there not something going wrong there? The same is tue at secondary level. This year a girls secondary school in Armagh scored better GCSE results compared to Campbell College. Is there a debate in your community about why you seem to be falling behind the Nationalist community in this crucial area and what can be done to rectify it. The aim should be to educate young WC Protestants to ensure that they dont fall behind and become part of a permanent underclass. Espically now as all we have is education and everything else can now be done far cheaper in Asia.

  • Billy

    USA

    Exactly right. As I recall UPRG candidates have fared very badly when they stood for election.

    These working class “loyalist” communities seem all too happy to return DUP/UUP candidates at each election.

    It’s a bit rich to then complain about what’s being done or not. If they are that bad, don’t vote for them!

    Gathering together in a menacing mob, walking around “loyalist” estates and refusing to co-operate with the PSNI – that’s a real cohesive political strategy.

    There were some good intelligent people (Davy Adams) in the UPRG at one point but they were forced out as the vast majority of UDA members want to continue running their criminal empires with the added bonus of extorting “danegeld” from the British govt.

    The truth is that many within the UPRG/UDA are still involved in drug dealing, extortion etc. They have no interest in the welfare of their own community (other than drug profits).

    I feel sorry for decent people in “loyalist” areas who are trying to bring their kids up right. It must be difficult given the hold that these thugs have on the areas.

    The trouble is that, any funds given to assist these people usually end up in the hands of “loyalist” terrorists.

    This gathering, while menacing, should be seen as the pitiful attempt at extortion that it was. The attempts at justifying it simply illustrate the stupidity of the “leadership”.

    Also, while I have no time for éirígí, the difference in treatment from the PSNI between them and this mob illustrates the distance the PSNI still has to travel.

    I have never supported violence and was delighted when Sinn Fein voted (much too late in the day) to support the PSNI.

    However, I can safely say that many constitutional Nationalist Catholics like myself still watch the PSNI with a wary eye because of years of bad experience with the RUC.

    There is no doubt that improvements have been made. However, whenever when we still see double standards like this applied, we realise that the PSNI is still far from a fair and impartial police force representing all the community equally.

  • riddle me this

    Yet more evidence that both the UDA and UPRG are struggling to maintain unity in all areas. Not particularly surprising but as Jim mentions potentially very dangerous indeed. There appears to be growing support away from Belfast and a sense of anger at current UDA thinking (if indeed they actually think at all). No sign of Frankie Gallagher who normally pops up and issues some nonsense statement or quotes from “Senior Belfast Loyalist leaders” (almost always Jackie Macdonald) so who knows where this is going. Yet another split??

  • RepublicanStones

    I wonder if they had a lacky holding a tape player with ‘Little Green Bag’ playing as they walked.

  • eagle eye

    Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Martina Anderson has described reports that a loyalist mob had been in the process of marching from the Waterside on Derry’s West Bank this evening as a very sinister development.

    Martina Anderson said:

    “Sinn Fein was contacted tonight by a local community worker and informed that a mob of up to 150 Loyalists had assembled in Derry’s Waterside and were marching towards Craigavon Bridge. Sinn Fein contacted the PSNI who informed us that they were aware of and monitoring the situation.

    “After further reports and contact with the PSNI we were informed that the mob had been dispersed at Spencer Road and that a police presence would be maintained to ensure that there would be no further threat.

    “In light of the recent statement from the UDA in the Derry area and unconfirmed reports tonight that the senior UDA individual known as the Mexican was present during this incident I am concerned that this is not just a one off situation and that this organisation is intent on escalating tensions.

    “It is galling to hear unionist politicians harp on about unionist alienation while they stay silent while this sinister organisation continues to threaten and intimidate entire communities. Who is leading unionism, is it the UDA or the politicians? It’s about time we seen some positive leadership from unionist politicians.

    http://www.derrysinnfein.ie/news/13644

  • Dave

    Jim, those are all fair and relevant points. However, you seem to assume that (a) the lack of representation for working-class protestants within government is irrelevant to how that social group fares; (b) that the fact that they support the union meant that the State had no expedient need secure their support for that union by pandering to them, and (c) that there will be no consequences for ‘the process’ if that social group continue to be overlooked when it comes to distributing largess.

    Catholics and working-class Protestants both fared badly under the old Stormont regime. Are working-class Protestants to be the only group without redress and who fare badly under the new Stormont regime? If so, you’ll find that loyalist paramilitaries will fill the political vacuum.

    It’s very convenient to pretend that the State plays no role in how well your community fares and that it is all down to individual ability and ambition when it suits your purposes but that isn’t what Catholics have been saying for the last 40 years, is it? They’ve been playing a different tune. Your new Stormont regime better get its sectarian and classist blinkers off and address deprivation among working-class Protestants or you’ll pay the price for keeping them as the only remaining ‘Taigs.’.

  • Bruno Spiro

    “Who’s leading unionism”; I think the clue is in unionism’s voting history.

    Unlike nationalists they have never voted for those directly linked to terrorism. Perhaps this goes someway in explaining the UDA’s frustrations.

  • Jim

    Dave

    Regarding your above points i dont assume that a lack of left-wing party has no afffect. Individual members like Lady Sylvia Hermon, Sammy wilson and the McGimpsey brothers would be left-of-centre in their politics. However i would guess their is no urgency for a fourth Unionist party at this time. However Deprivation is everywere and is just in common in nationalist areas as Unionist.

    Im not saying that WC Protestants were not poor under the Stormont regime but in Belfast they did have skilled blue-collar jobs in HW, Shorts and Mackies. These companies are gone now or much smaller than in the 60s. With the falling behind in education of the WC Protestant community any new jobs on the whole are going to be taken by Catholics. The same could be said when comparing MC Communities in the north. I agree Dave that forgetting about these communities is incredibly dangerous. However i am not sure there is much difference in the money each community gets from Westminister.

    The danger is a Protestant community unemployed or unemployable within the next generation compared to the Catholic community. This will lead i believe to a feeling of resentment and a feeling that is already present that Catholics are getting everything. The change must come from within the P/U/L. Why are CCMS schools in both grammer and secondary so far ahead of their state counterparts? Surely it must be time for teachers and community groups in the Protestant community to be copying best practise from the Catholic community. There is a feeling amongst some in the Catholic community that you must be educated because Protestants will never help you out when going for jobs. Whilst not being a feeling i would subscribe to it has i feel helped the Catholic community since 1968. A new change regarding education must come from within the P/U/L or i fear Dave we will be talking about lost generations of young WC Protestants for decades to come.

  • ricky

    Its a pity the PSNI wouldn’t start protecting Loyalist areas in the city such as the Fountain and Irish Street, then there would be no need to have Loyalists in posse’s trying to protect their areas from rampaging republican mobs who seem to be totally immune from any PSNI arresting action.
    The reason the PUP are not voted for in large numbers is due to the fact that Protestants have no truck with paramillitary groups , generally speaking.

  • bystander

    in Londonderry the psni have no interest in protecting WC loyalist areas, attacks are nightly and there is a frustration that we are seeing another phase of ethnic cleansing. the psni have allowed young republicans to abuse and spit on bands returning on the 12th night taken no action but have now arrested a member of the band who was covered from head to toe and reacted. there is anger everywhere for many different reasons but my fear is we are heading to repeat the mistakes that led up to 1968. we cant continue to live as second class citizens in this city and the result is that today, the UDA/UPRG could put that many on the street and yet 10 years ago they would have had difficulty in getting 30 out.

  • ricky

    Bystander, if you are hoping for the PSNI to take action against Republican louts you will die in despair. Attacks at Twaddel ave’ continue , unabated on Loyalist homes even though there is a security camera at that interface. Nationalists attacks continue because they know the PSNI won’t prosecute them even if they have photographic evidence. North Antrim is quickly becoming an area where there is a daily attack on a Protestant or their property, yet how many arrests have been made of these criminals?- practically zero. Why is this you might ask?- so that these same thugs and members of their community will be encouraged to apply to be part of the discriminatory 50/50 recruit intake.

  • oldruss

    bystander,

    It is regretable that band members were spat upon and otherwise abused by “young republicans”, who have been described by the main-stream-news media (Belfast Telegraph, BBC, etc.), as being 10-year-olds and up, mostly teenagers.

    It is equally regrettable that a mob in Coleraine recently attacked and beat to death a Catholic, Kevin McDaid, beat his wife, and nearly beat to death another Catholic man.

    Without condoning the attacks on the Orange bands and on the PSNI on Monday the Thirteenth in the Ardoyne, lets keep things in perspective. The UDA volunteers who were out and about in the Waterside could have just as easily found a Catholic and beat him to death as did the mob in Coleraine.

  • ricky

    What is your point Oldruss? Quite properly the police have arrested many for the murder of Mr McDaid.The point is the PSNI do not make an effort to apprehend one set of malefactors and yet will leave no stone unturned when it comes to seeking out another set , to the extent that they arrest a bandsman for having the audacity to complain when he is drowned in spittle by republican goaders.

  • Scaramoosh

    Perhaps, perhaps, there is more to this than meets the eye.

    Perhaps, this actually equates to an epochal momement, whereby one of the UDA brigadiers, having holidayed on a diet of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Frederic Jameson, has come to the realistaion that the myths long associated with the grand narrative are dead?

    On the other hand, perhaps this is just an extension of the “Bangor Flag Protest” – whereby the UDA have been forced to flex their muscles, after further claims that their shopping trolleys are filled up with crisps and coke. And accusations that their reading matter consists mainly of porn mags, and that their leading recreational activity involves a couple of hours in the afternoon down the gym (on steroids)?

  • oldruss

    Ricky, Perhaps it is too simplistic, but my point is that for all the rock throwing, and expectorating, and marching around, who beat a man to death in Coleraine? Who drove the Roma families out of south Belfast? Who savagely beat Paul McCauley in Derry? Who murdered Michael McIlveen in Ballymena?

    Perhaps there’s no pattern.

    And where were the PSNI when this was going down? Looks to me like the murder in Coleraine and the ethnic cleansing in south Belfast were both preventable. And perhaps so too would the beat down in Derry that left Paul McCauley on permanent life-support, and ended with a 15-year-old being stomped to death in Ballymena, IF there was a 180 degree turn in the mindset of those unionists who give encouragement to the loyalist paramilitaries by allowing their participation in the Orange Marches, who accept UDA “volunteers” marchimg around the Waterside, who countenance weak politicians in the UUP and DUP who thinly disguise their contempt for nationalists and Catholics.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ricky:

    Its a pity the PSNI wouldn’t start protecting Loyalist areas in the city such as the Fountain and Irish Street, then there would be no need to have Loyalists in posse’s trying to protect their areas from rampaging republican mobs who seem to be totally immune from any PSNI arresting action.
    The reason the PUP are not voted for in large numbers is due to the fact that Protestants have no truck with paramillitary groups , generally speaking.

    That’s got to be a record – jumping from justifying thuggery by loyalists, to denying that people want anything to do with them, all in the same paragraph. Did it even cross your mind that you might be contradicting yourself ?

    If the people in these neighbourhoods have no truck with paramilitary groups, why are they adorned with paramilitary flags, and why are no unionist politicians leading the charge to have those flags taken down ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    ricky:

    .The point is the PSNI do not make an effort to apprehend one set of malefactors and yet will leave no stone unturned when it comes to seeking out another set

    This is, quite frankly, bollocks. As Mark pointed out earlier in this thread, the PSNI make a point of (legally) harrassing eirigi members. Colin Duffy was arrested, released, and then re-arrested again right outside the jail to get around a court order. There were arrests following the riots in Ardoyne which led to a protest outside the police station. There was footage on Slugger a year or so ago of the PSNI breaking doors down in Craigavon in order to apprehend a suspect, and around the same time they were being fired upon.

    You can’t possibly argue that the police are ignoring republicans. Why do you feel the need to lie in order to make your case ? Isn’t the truth sufficiently compelling for your point of view ?

  • bystander

    seems strange after sinn fein said this group was involved in an ileagal parade,despite what the psni said. now after a few weeks the psni have changed their minds and agree it may have been ilegal. confirms who really is running the show here in londonderry.