Appeal for calm as protest plans emerge for Lisburn
Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has appealed for calm after it was revealed online that a protest has been planned for Lisburn this evening,
Circulating on social media, the organisers say the protest at Longstone roundabout on Thursday (April 8) is in opposition to the NI Protocol and the “treatment of the PUL Community as second class citizens.”
The organisers have also encouraged band members to play at the protest but have stated that they “cover band crest and face”.
Following the news online that the protest would take place at 7pm, local shops in the Longstone Street area have said they will close at 6pm, due to concerns over the flare up of violence in other towns and cities in Northern Ireland in recent days.
Community associations and youth groups have been urging young people online to stay out of trouble and to “protect their future”.
Appealing for calm, and urging young people to stay off the streets, Sir Jeffrey said: “With the violence we have seen on our streets on recent evenings, it is important that we all do everything possible to dissuade young people from going out onto the streets at this time.
“I recognise people are frustrated and angry but the way to deal with that is through the political process.
“We are redoubling our efforts to deal with issues causing concern but I would encourage people in Lisburn and especially young people, not to allow themselves to be used in a way that would harm our city, its reputation and especially result in young people ending up before the courts with their future blighted, as we have seen too much of that in the past.”
Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Councillor Nicholas Trimble, also appealed for calm at tonight’s protest.
“I have been engaged with council officers and the PSNI to ensure tonight’s protest is peaceful and I would ask anyone exercising their right to protest to not have a repeat of any of the scenes we have seen in other parts of the country.
“It is important that things remain calm and peaceful and that people remain orderly.”