Loyalists protest at prison gate


Loyalist protesters accompanied by a flute band mounted a picket outside the main entrance to Maghaberry Prison, Co Antrim, on Saturday afternoon.

Several dozen protesters carried placards and flags and heckled prison officers as they arrived for work. The demonstration was organised by supporters of the Loyalist Volunteer Force and was called to highlight the prison conditions of two LVF inmates.

Alfie Phillips and Billy King are charged with the murder of a fellow prisoner, David Keys, in the Maze Prison last April. Both King and Phillips are subject to rule 32, a restrictive privilege regime with a 23-hour daily lock-up, They are also limited to one 30-minute legal visit a week.

The leadership of the LVF says this is deliberate Northern Ireland Office policy to humiliate the prisoners and force it to break its ceasefire. The LVF has called on the Northern Ireland Office to return the men to the Maze and the normal prison system.