REVEALED: THE MOMENT WILLIE FRAZER WAS ARRESTED OVER STORMONT PROTEST

Union flag leader Willie Frazer arrested on Tuesday in east Belfast

Union flag leader Willie Frazer arrested on Tuesday in east Belfast

THIS is the moment Union Flag protest leader Willie Frazer was arrested on suspicion of breaching his bail conditions.

Mr Frazer was detained at a cafe after attending the Stormont parades debate on Tuesday.

Up to to six landrovers from the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group pulled up on the Newtownards Road to arrest him.

His arrest has sparked angry calls on social networking sites for protests on Tuesday night.

Earlier, protestors had gathered at the steps of Stormont ahead of the emergency recall.

Mr Frazer’s bail conditions banned him from being within two miles of any¬†public demonstration or protest.

A police spokesman has confirmed a man in his 50s has been arrested in the east Belfast area.

Last month the 53-year-old was allowed by a judge to attend a parade marking the Battle of the Somme.

He was also given leave to be at a Twelfth of July demonstration and the Scarva sham fight.

But he was banned from saying anything publicly about any of the gatherings or the union flag dispute.

The judge agreed to a temporary relaxation of bail terms based on Mr Frazer’s record and behaviour since being released from custody.

PSNI TSG police arrest Willie Frazer at a cafe on the Newtownards Road

PSNI TSG police arrest Willie Frazer at a cafe on the Newtownards Road

“You can attend quietly all three events without making any comment to anyone about the events,” District judge Austin Kennedy said.

Mr Frazer, from Markethill, County Armagh, is charged with encouraging offences by an address to flag demonstrators in January.

He is also accused of three counts of taking part in an un-notified public procession, obstructing traffic in a public place, and possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a stun-gun.

In March, he was granted bail on a series of tight conditions including an order not to be within two miles of public protests, demonstrations or processions.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Friday, June 28 seeking to have that prohibition temporarily lifted for three forthcoming events.

Mr Frazer wanted permission to go to a Somme commemoration event in County Armagh on Monday, a Twelfth parade in Newtownhamilton, and the Scarva sham fight on 13 July.

Police opposed the application, claiming the situation within the loyalist community remains volatile.

A constable told the court Mr Frazer’s attendance at the events could inflame others to commit offences.

But defence counsel Richard Smyth argued that his rights to freedom of assembly and religious expression were involved.

Referring to the Somme commemoration event the barrister said: “That is something very close to Mr Frazer, his grandmother’s seven brothers all fought in World War I.”

Mr Smyth said all three events were important for the cultural identity of his client and thousands of others.

“I sometimes get the impression that police and the prosecution are attempting to lay the blame for whatever tensions there are in loyalism solely at the door of Mr Frazer,” he said.

Judge Kennedy said that Mr Frazer was still banned from making any public speeches or giving interviews connected to the flag dispute.

 

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