Organised by a group called the ‘East Antrim Loyalist Coalition,’ the demonstration was also over alleged “two-tiered policing” across Northern Ireland.
It followed previous protests across unionist areas of the province over the Irish Sea customs border following Brexit and the perceived failure to prosecute participants in the funeral of senior republican Bobby Storey for potential breaches of Covid regulations.
A post by the organisers on social media ahead of the parade, stated: “Calling on Orange Order members, band members and everyone within the Protestant, unionist, loyalist (PUL) community. Newtownabbey protest against the NI protocol and two-tiered policing. Everyone welcome. Bring Union flags.”
In a statement issued to this newspaper, North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said: “Police were in attendance at an un-notified procession that took place in the Doagh Road and Station Road area of Newtownabbey last night (May 13).
“Organisers of parades are required to give formal notification of their intentions. A number of warnings were given to participants last night and an evidence-gathering operation was in place.
“We will now review all the footage gathered and consider any suspected offences under the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 or breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021.”
A spokesperson for the Parades Commission confirmed it had not received notification ahead of last night’s event.
Click here to read: Hundreds of people at anti-protocol parade in Carrickfergus
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