March shows support for five arrested Royal Marines
NEARLY 100 people sporting banners, berets and green ribbons took part in a protest march to show their support for five Royal Marines charged with murder.
Organised by ex-Devon and Dorset Infantry solider Dave Saville, the march was also arranged to coincide with the Corp's 350th anniversary.
The five Marines were arrested earlier this month over an alleged incident involving an insurgent in Afghanistan's Helmand Province last year.
Gathering at Devil's Point, in Stonehouse, yesterday morning, the protest march attracted around 90 people of all ages, who all said they were there as a result of murder charges being brought against the five.
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Mr Saville, from Leigham, said: "I felt very strongly about it.
"We need to get the message across that we support our troops.
"We want the charges against the five Marines dropped and we also want our troops returned home."
A number of veterans attended the march, including several ex-Marines.
One, 68-year-old Derek Heape, said although full details of the case were unknown: "We have got to have faith and support the lads."
The march made its way from Devil's Point, along Admiralty Road and into Admiralty Street.
It came to a halt outside Stonehouse Barracks, as Mr Saville shouted: "Three cheers for the Royal Marines."
The protestors then sung 'Happy Birthday' to mark the Corp's anniversary, before breaking into a round of applause and continuing towards the Citadel.
Commander Dean Westlake, of the Combined Ex-Forces South West group, said: "We are marching to support the five Royal Marines.
"I totally disagree with what's happening to them."
The names of the five Marines have still not been released. There is also a court ban on identifying the commandos involved in the case, which is being handled by the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA).
The SPA is an independent body that would take a similar role to the Crown Prosecution Service in a civilian court.
Because of the nature of the incident, any trial of the Marines will be carried out through a Courts Martial – a military court.
The arrests occurred after footage was found on a serviceman's laptop, the Ministry of Defence said.
City-based 3 Commando Brigade, of which the Marines are affiliated, served in Afghanistan between April and October last year.