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  1. ITV Report

Military veterans hold rally amid counter-protest

Several hundred Army veterans and their supporters have gathered in Belfast city centre to protest what they say is an imbalance in prosecutions of the military over historic Troubles killings.

The rally at Belfast City Hall on Friday morning saw speakers call for an end to what they alleged was unfair treatment of former security force members.

It was organised by the group Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, but similar rallies are also being held at Horse Guards Parade in London and George Square in Glasgow.

Around 500 military veterans and their supporters gathered for their demonstration. Credit: Presseye

A counter-protest by anti-Agreement republicans was also staged in Belfast - organised by the group Saoradh, which formed in 2016 with the backing of dissident republican prisoners.

Amid a tense atmosphere, around 150 participants stood on the other side of a police line holding placards and singing anti-British songs.

However, both demonstrations passed off peacefully and all those involved dispersed without incident.

Around 150 were involved in the republican counter-protest. Credit: Presseye

The demonstration by veterans comes in response to the prosecutions of former soldiers, including two men accused of the murder of IRA commander Joe McCann in 1972.

Another prominent case involves 75-year-old retired soldier Dennis Hutchings, who is to face trial accused of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to a fatal shooting in 1974.

Hutchings, from Torpoint in Cornwall, is due to address the veterans’ rally in London.