23 July 2005

Loyalists planning massive march around city centre

Daily Ireland

By Ciarán Barnes

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Loyalists and supporters of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) are to hold a massive march around Belfast city centre at the end of the month.
Details of the demonstration involving 3,000 loyalists and 60 bands emerged on the same day that the UVF was blamed for carrying out a Wednesday evening gun attack on the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.
A man in his 30s escaped injury when bullets came through the bathroom window of his house.
Next week’s loyalist parade, on July 30, will be the second major UVF-linked march in the city this month.
The day after the last similar sized parade along the Shankill Road on July 10, the UVF murdered 20-year-old Craig McCausland.
Loyalists have expressed fears that there could be more violence between the UVF and LVF after the upcoming march.
In a bid to prevent any further killings Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey has pleaded for intermediaries to come forward to bring an end to the feud.
The Chairman of the Loyalist Commission, Rev Mervyn Gibson, who brokered an end to previous loyalist feuds, has already met with representatives of both the UVF and LVF.
He said at this stage a compromise between the organisations cannot be reached.
“I’ve spoke to both organisations and asked them to show restraint and to work to achieve a compromise,” said Rev Gibson.
“At this stage I think this is a long way off.”
The latest feud between the UVF and LVF was sparked by the July 1 UVF murder of LVF associate Jameson Lockhart.
The UVF murdered west Belfast father of one Craig McCausland ten days later on the same night the LVF shot and seriously injured 21-year-old David Hanley in north Belfast. Neither man had paramilitary connections.
Last Monday the UVF fired shots into a house on the Victoria Road in east Belfast’s Sydenham area.
Following the recent UVF violence secretary of state Peter Hain suspended the Assembly allowances of its political wing, the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP).
The move led PUP leader David Ervine to accuse the British government of attempting to push his party out of politics.

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