POLICE will increase security in Derry city centre today as republicans hold a protest on the same day the Apprentice Boys hold their annual parade.
Republicans will stage a white line picket in Shipquay Street over the detention of remand prisoner, Luke O’Neill, in an integrated block at Maghaberry.
Representatives from Junior McDaid House in Chamberlain Street, which houses the Derry offices of both Saoradh and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA), have called the protest to demand Mr. O’Neill’s immediate transfer to the separated republican landings in Roe House.
The 23-year-old Lurgan man is currently being held in the integrated Quoile House where he was remanded on terror charges last year.
Republicans say there are fears for his safety among a ‘hostile’ prison population on the general landings.
Junior McDaid House spokesman Patrick Gallagher said: “It’s important to say, Luke is still in good spirits, strong and defiant and is under no illusion that he is being held in isolation for sinister purposes.
“We, at Junior McDaid House demand an end to the isolation of Luke O’Neill immediately and call on the relevant authorities to act quickly and decisively so that Luke can be moved to Roe House.”
Today’s protest will take place at 2pm, shortly after thousands of Apprentice Boys parade through the city centre as part of the annual ‘Relief of Derry’ demonstration.
The Apprentice Boys’ main parade starts at 12.30 pm, proceeding from the Craigavon Bridge, through Carlisle Road, the Walled City and the Fountain, before making its way to the Waterside.
Eight ABOD parent clubs, symbolising eight regiments that were formed to defend Derry during the Jacobite siege in 1689, will march back through the city centre from 5pm, after the republican picket has ended.