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Calls for calm as police try to break up commemoration to victims of loyalist murderers

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said a review into the incident is ongoing.

A memorial to Jack Duffin, Willie McManus, Christy Doherty, Peter Magee, and James Kennedy who were killed during the Sean Graham Bookmakers shooting attack on 5 February 1992.
A memorial to Jack Duffin, Willie McManus, Christy Doherty, Peter Magee, and James Kennedy who were killed during the Sean Graham Bookmakers shooting attack on 5 February 1992.
Image: PA

POLICE IN THE North have appealed for calm after they broke up a memorial to the victims of a loyalist shooting. 

The PSNI said its community team came across a group of “30 or 40″ people outside the Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. 

They were attending a memorial for the five innocent people who were shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) in 1992.

One of the survivors of the atrocity was arrested after he allegedly became embroiled in a scuffle with police. 

The PSNI had tried to disperse the group due to coronavirus restrictions. 

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said a review into the incident is ongoing and investigation into the behaviour of the police officers has also started. 

He said: “As the event concluded, two officers approached a person to talk to him about a breach of the Health Protection Regulations.

“The situation quickly escalated and a man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest. He was taken to Musgrave Police Station and was released at 4.04pm. In the course of the incident a police officer sustained a minor injury to his face.

“We are now reviewing all footage of the incident including our officers Body Worn Video and have notified the Office of the Police Ombudsman, and we are carrying out an assessment of the conduct of the officers involved.”

 

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Byrne said he full recognises the sensitivities of this incident and “just how difficult a day this would have already been for the families who lost loved ones in the atrocity. That should not be forgotten”.

 

He said the force is acutely aware that this is the latest incident to raise concerns about the enforcement of coronavirus regulations and illustrates there are no easy answers.

“I would appeal for calm at this time,” he added.

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