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Border protests planned in Tyrone for day after Brexit

A SERIES of mass protests are being planned along the border, including several in Tyrone, for the day after Brexit.

The demonstrations are being organised by Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB), with the support of the North’s pro-Remain parties including Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance.

Outside Stormont on Monday morning, the group announced its plans for the protests along the border on Saturday, March 30 at 3pm.

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The UK is due to leave the European Union the day before, on March 29.

In Tyrone, it is being proposed to hold events in Aughnacloy and Strabane. A new billboard was unveiled by the group at Stormont to highlight the planned protests.

BCAB spokesperson, Declan Fearon, said, “We will be calling on all unions, representative groups, civic leaders and citizens to join with us in demonstrating our anger at being taken out of the EU.

“We have also decided to create a declaration that all pro-Remain and campaign groups could sign up to so we all can send a very clear message to Westminster, Dublin and Brussels about the effects of Brexit upon our lives.”

Mr Fearon added, “It is vitally important at this very crucial time our collective voices are heard.”

The declaration calls for the implementation of the ‘backstop’ to prevent a hard border and also for the Good Friday Agreement to be preserved.

It further calls for continued EU representation to ensure protection and standards for citizen’s rights, employment, environmental and social rights, as well as continued access to EU funding programmes.

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Mr Fearon said, “While there has been much talk about delays and extensions of the withdrawal date, the political machinations at Westminster have completely ignored the views, needs, fears and desires of the people here in Ireland, in particular those living in the border region who will be so adversely affected by Brexit.

“Brexit and a hard border have the potential to cause devastation to our economy, our industries, jobs and especially to the farming sector, to the free movement of people crossing the border every day in our communities to work, study or to trade.”

But the DUP have accused the group of engaging in “scaremongering and stunt politics”.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said, “Regardless of whether a deal is reached or not, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have all stated the clear intention not to see any kind of ‘hard border’ put in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

“The only people talking about such an outcome are those who have engaged in scaremongering and stunt politics over the last few years. It would be much more productive if everyone spent their time seeking a solution for the issues we face rather than engage in yet more street theatre.”

Mr Middleton added, “Many people will wonder whether the reason behind any demonstrations on March 30 is actually to create some level of disruption which would otherwise be absent.”

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