EXCLUSIVE: THE ULSTER People’s Forum has ended contact with senior PSNI chiefs after Willie Frazer was charged with public order offences and Jamie Bryson was arrested.
In a statement obtained on Thursday night by the Belfast Daily, the UPF has accused the PSNI of “political policing” over the arrests of two of its founding members.
And it claimed police had broken promises not to arrest people if they moved away from street protests and carried out ‘white line’ demonstrations instead.
Willie Frazer, a key organiser of the flag protests, has been charged on Thursday evening with public order offences.
The PSNI confirmed that a 52-year-old man has been charged with various offences including three counts of taking part in an unnotified public procession and obstructing traffic in a public place.
He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday.
The veteran victims campaigner was arrested at Markethill, Co Armagh on Wednesday.
The development comes on the same day UPF spokesperson Jamie Bryson was arrested by officers from the Operation Dulcet probe into loyalist flag disorder.
A police spokesperson confirmed that a 23-year-old has been detained by the enquiry team in Bangor on suspicion of public order offences relating to the protests.
He is currently in custody at Musgrave Street PSNI station assisting police with their enquiries.
The loyalist figure had been in hiding for over 24 hours after police searched his Co Down home and community offices in Bangor’s Kilcooley estate on Wednesday and towed away his car.
He posted a video on YouTube on Wednesday to defiantly tell the police: “No Surrender.”
Officers from the Operation Dulcet inquiry team had the power to arrest Mr Bryson on the spot when they called at his door in North Down on Wednesday morning.
The Ulster People’s Forum statement posted on Facebook to supporters said: “We feel that after attempts and negotiations with Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum, UPF committee members and the Rev Mervyn Gibson, a change in our stance must now be made.
“In said negotiations, we were assured that if street protests moved to whiteline protests, the P.S.N.I. would accommodate this.
“The group was also assured by ACC Will Kerr that all those people who police would be intent on persuing on civil disobedience charges, said charges would “fall off his desk”.
“Since these negotiations with the P.S.N.I., around 80% of protests did move to whiteline with a dramatic decrease in violence.
” However, following further conversations between our committee and CS Alan McCrum, the P.S.N.I. seem intent on raising tensions with their latest statement saying a further 300 people are to be arrested this saturday and walks (both on footpath and roads) into Belfast City Hall on saturdays will no longer be facilitated.
“So, due to the political policing that is being forced upon our community, the committee of the Ulster Peoples Forum will no longer be in negotiation with the P.S.N.I.
“The Ulster Peoples Forum feel after attempts at negotiating ways to keep our own people out of courts and prison, the P.S.N.I. are still working on behalf of SF/IRA to take away our human rights and freedom of peaceful protests.
“Jamie and Willie have asked the Ulster Peoples Forum to make it clear that they are no more important than any of those who have been arrested and that people should remember that when they take to the streets.
“For all those who have went through the ordeal of police brutality, please remember, that Ulster and other parts of the UK are with you in solidarity,” concluded the statement.