THE DUP has requested a meeting with the Chief Constable about republican parades, including the forthcoming Anti-Internment League parade due to take place this Sunday.
Tensions are mounting ahead of the parade after the organisers said they planned to breach the Parades Commission determination.
North Belfast MLA Nelson McCausland commented: “Following the violence surrounding the internment ‘parade of shame’ two years ago questions were asked as to why it was allowed to proceed along the route.
“During the parade last year there was clear evidence of a large number of participants and supporters chanting IRA slogans.
“Such glorification of terrorism was clearly an attempt to provoke a reaction from loyalists, but thankfully those protesting demonstrated restraint.
“This year the organisers have stated their intention to breach the Parades Commission determination, which raises questions for the police as to how they intend to deal with this situation.
“We have seen how the PSNI has rigorously enforced determinations against Loyal Order parades and relentlessly pursued prosecutions for any breaches.
“However, there are many concerns about how republican parades are policed.
“It is vital the Chief Constable can demonstrate an even-handed approach to such situations.
“Unfortunately in the past we have had the situation where clear breaches of a Parades Commission determination were evident, but a PSNI Inspector was happy to stand in court to say he saw nothing during that parade which gave him cause for concern.
“We want firm assurances as to how the PSNI intend to police this parade, and we will continue to raise such concerns in the future.’
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said he had representations regarding this parade, particularly because it passes the spot where UDR soldiers Private Fred Starrett and Private James Cummings were murdered by the IRA in February 1988.
“To have participants in such a parade chanting IRA slogans as they passed this spot last year caused a huge amount of further offence and pain.
“Whilst objections in relation to the parade passing this site and the behavior during last year’s parade are noted in the background to this year’s determination, no action has been taken within the ruling itself.
“This is a parade designed specifically and solely with the intention of causing offence and to provoke a reaction.
“I would urge restraint from anyone protesting against this parade, but there must be appropriate action by both the PSNI and the Parades Commission.’