A group named Protestants Against Injustice are to hold a protest march in Ballymoney on Saturday 24th September to register their opposition to the Parades Commission.
A spokesperson for the group said : “The committee of PAI invite you to a parade of bands to be held on Saturday 24th September in Ballymoney. The parade is designed to register our frustration, anger and opposition to the undemocratic Parades Commission and the general infringement of civil and human rights being experienced by the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community.”
“For too long now, the erosion of fundamental ‘Human Rights’ of protestants-their cultural heritage have been determined by the Parades commission-who are used as a mechanism for creating institutionalised discrimination against the PUL community. Parades have been rerouted, banned and interfered with at the whim of Sinn Fein politicians who now quite openly brag that they are getting what they want from the Parades Commission. They are an unelected body who have been given seemingly unlimited powers to do as they please without reference, or accountability to anyone and their chief-an almost exclusive target-is the PUL community. Bands, Orange lodges, Apprentice boys clubs and Royal Black Preceptories have suffered at the hands of the commission. This has had a demoralising effect on the wider Unionist population and had led to an acceptance on the part of many; that those members of the Bands and the Loyal Orange Orders are second class citizens. This has led to our halls being vandalised and burnt (21 so far this year to date) and our people attacked as well as our religious and civil liberties.”
“The above parade is designed to show the Parades Commission and the Republicans who manipulate and use the Commission for their own narrow, sectarian ends that we as a UNITED community are not prepared to simply accept this. Never before has a parade/rally been held to oppose the Parades commission and demand both our civil and human rights be protected. We would like this to be the first of many across the country.”
“Recently, the Parades Commission ruled that Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band would not be allowed to participate in a parade in Rasharkin hosted by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band. This is the start of something very sinister and new within this area-creating an unnecessary division within a pluralistic society; that has coexisted for generations-now targeted by Republicanism to give rise to naked sectarianism, encouraging division that will eventually form a platform for sectarianism to be justified. If we do not stand up and oppose restrictions of this type, next time it might well be YOUR band, YOUR lodge, YOUR club, YOUR Preceptory-or YOUR community.”
“If you agree with the sentiments expressed in this letter of invitation, please come to Ballymoney on 24th September. The parade will leave North Road at 6:30pm and follow the normal route of local parades.”
“Hoping to see your Band/Lodge/Club/Preceptory represented,”
Protestants Against Injustice Committee .
- Darryl Wilson
- Russell Watton
- Gary Blair
- Anne Smyth
- Matthew Hagan
- Raymond Christie
- James Anderson
- William Archibald