Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Today we saw a crowd of over 300 people in attendance at a protest held at the Stormont Estate grounds in Belfast. The numbers in attendance and the lack of social distancing in the crowd were in stark contrast with assurances given to police by the organisers in the days leading up to the event.

“Police engaged with the organisers before and during the protest in an attempt to encourage them to disperse and comply with the Health Protection Regulations. Unfortunately both the organisers and participants did not cooperate with these requests and continued in breach of the regulations.

“Officers therefore moved to enforce the regulations resulting in the issue of fixed penalty notices and a number of arrests. We will also conduct follow up enquiries to seek to identify others who may have committed offences.

“As I have said previously, in other times, we would work with organisers and protestors to facilitate lawful and peaceful protests, however, these are not ordinary times. The Health Protection Regulations, particularly at this time with increased restrictions in place, are there to protect us all during this pandemic and it is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to them to protect our society.

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