She died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on April 18, 2019
The family of murdered journalist Lyra McKee have voiced disgust that a republican Easter parade linked with dissidents went ahead on the anniversary of her murder.
Ms McKee, a journalist, died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on April 18, 2019.
Vigils took place in her memory in Belfast and Derry on Monday.
An extremist group styling itself the New IRA has previously claimed it was responsible for killing the journalist and author.
A republican parade to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising also took place in Derry on Monday. It was connected to the group Saoradh which is accused of having links with the New IRA.
The Parades Commission had ruled that no paramilitary style clothing be worn in the procession.
Ms McKee’s sister Nichola Corner questioned why the event could not have been held on a different day, pointing out the date of Easter changes every year.
“When we objected to this parade taking place, it was on the grounds of the date alone, not on the grounds of marching,” she told the PA news agency.
“Had they marched on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, we wouldn’t have cared.
“It is insulting to go forth on Lyra’s anniversary, to do a parade of this nature honouring other dead. It’s in really bad taste.”
Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning added: “We’re here to honour someone we loved, and they’re there to honour people who died 106 years ago. That’s my personal take on it and why I think it’s in such bad taste.”
The Unfinished Revolution National Easter Commemoration parade ended at Derry City Cemetery where an address was heard.
A masked man told those gathered: “We are here to stay”, to applause before the Irish national anthem was played. A message was also read from republican prisoners at jails in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
There were reports of disturbances at the cemetery on Monday evening.
On Monday evening, police confirmed that officers had come under attack as they made arrests.
Five men – aged 29, 38, 40, 50 and 54 years – were arrested under the Terrorism Act.
A sixth man, aged 40 years old, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.
Officers also seized a number of vehicles, suspected terrorist uniforms and petrol bombs.
Derry and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Ryan Henderson said participants in the parade were assessed as having potentially committed criminal offences.
“Police monitored the event closely and, at what was considered to be considered to be an appropriate point, took action to secure evidence and make arrests,” he said.
“Whilst doing so, police officers came under attack from petrol bombs and masonry.
“Our officers showed tremendous courage and professionalism in what was still clearly a dangerous situation.
“Fortunately, none of our officers, or members of the public were injured as a result of this reckless and criminal behaviour. Our inquiries will continue over the coming days and weeks to bring offenders to justice.”
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