Coleraine PUP Councillor Russell Watton has praised all involved for a peaceful, successful and enjoyable Twelfth in Coleraine.
In a statement, Councillor Watton said: “With the Twelfth Celebrations over for another year I would like to commend all involved for a very successful and enjoyable demonstration in Coleraine.”
“The day itself passed off peacefully once again but my attention has been drawn to the heavy handed tactics of the PSNI Tactical Support Group who seem to have behaved in an aggressive manner to spectators standing outside bars in the town. Dozens of angry people have asked if they were there to prevent violence or create it.”
“If we contrast this with the sickening images aired on social media over the last few days of masked terrorists freely firing a volley of shots over a coffin in broad daylight or a massive display of strength by dozens of masked individuals in full paramilitary gear openly walking through the streets of Londonderry with not a TSG in sight.”
“With regard to the media, they are more interested ridiculing a band for playing a Hymn outside an empty Catholic Church. We have also heard the outcry from “all law abiding citizens” about the appearance of election posters and effigies appearing on Twelfth bonfires as an act of hate crime and damaging to our “Peace Process”.”
“Do these people never see the bonfires built by republicans which also have “trophies” adorning them. Some of these “trophies” (Union Flags) were recently stolen from local War Memorials in Kilrea and Bushmills and no doubt will take pride of place when their fires are ready to be lit. With reference to the effigies, the obvious difference being, at least they were only dummies being burnt. Compare this to the murderous acts of the IRA at Lamon House Hotel where 12 people were burned to death. ”
“Also over the last weekend we saw images of unrest and rioting from both sides of the community but the way it was broadcast shows a massive imbalance. During the weekend rioting broke out on the streets of West Belfast and Bogside area of Londonderry. This was reportedly carried out by “Youths” but the violence at Twaddell Ave when once again we saw the denial of our brothers in Ligoniel to complete their journey home along a mixed highway was broadcast as “Loyalist Youths”. ”
Councillor Watton stated, “I deal in facts and what I can plainly see is systemic double standards by those we are supposed to support and respect. It’s time the Greater Unionist Family came together to combat this two-tiered approach and end the constant demonisation and marginalisation of Loyalism”.