Extra police drafted for loyalist rally

Extra police officers are reported to have been drafted in ahead of a contentious Loyalist march due to take place in Derry’s Waterside later this afternoon (Sunday).

The protest which is taking place in response to the restriction of the flying of the British Flag over Belfast’s City Hall, had been planned to co-incide with the annual Bloody Sunday commemmoration march which sets off from Creggan at 2pm.

Protesters had initially planned to congregate at Ebrington Square after marching through Bond Street and Browning Drive however after a decision taken by organisers on Friday it’s now understood protesters will no longer converge on Ebrington, which has been recognised as a non political, cross community space. The march has been described by organisers as a Loyalist Civil Rights parade.

It’s understood instead that supporters will gather at Bond Street at around 2.30pm and follow a route from Glendermott Road to Irish Street and that they will return and disperse at the Health Centre on Glendermott Road at around 3.30pm. Police are advising motorists to seek alternative routes as traffic will be delayed and roads may be closed for a short time.

A parades commission ruling has stated that participants are not carry flags or emblems “which may be seen as provocative.”

However yesterday afternoon it was reported that flags featuring the regimental insignia of the Parachute Regiment - whose members were responsible for the Bloody Sunday killings here - had been erected near Irish Street in the Waterside. It’s feared the Parachute Regiment flag may be used by protesters at tomorrow’s march.

At the same time the annual Bloody Sunday march will take place, setting off from Creggan.

At around 2.30pm the parade will leave Central Drive in Creggan and follow a route towards; Southway - Lonemoore Road - Brandywell Avenue - Lecky Road - Westland Street - William Street - Rossville Street. The parade is expected to disperse at around 5.30pm from the Rossville Street / Free Derry Corner area. Police advise motorists to expect traffic delays and to seek alternative routes where possible. The area around Rossville Street will be closed to traffic from around 4.30pm to 5.30pm.