06 March 2006

11 remanded over raid on city bar


The men were arrested after a police raid on a Belfast bar

Eleven men have been remanded in custody in connection with a police raid on a bar in a loyalist area of north Belfast last Thursday.

The men range in age from 19 to 48 and have addresses in north Belfast, Glengormley and Newtownabbey.

They were all charged with setting up a meeting in support of the UDA/UFF.

Seven of them were also charged with wearing clothes associated with the banned loyalist paramilitary organisation.

There was a large police presence at Belfast Magistrates Court and the magistrate told a 50-strong group of friends and supporters of the accused that he did not want proceedings disrupted.

The 11 men appeared individually.

Several of them claimed they were unable to have proper legal advice because police at a custody station in Antrim were not able to guarantee them that consultations were not being recorded.

The charges relate to a police search at the Alexandra Bar on Thursday evening.

Six other men and a woman who were also being questioned were released, pending reports to the Public Prosecution Service.

The UFF is part of the Ulster Defence Association, set up as its "military wing" before the UDA was proscribed.

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