Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Parade ban sparks fears of violence

More than 70 police officers have been injured during four nights of unrest in Belfast

Fears of new loyalist violence heightened after an Orange Order parade was banned from going near a north Belfast flashpoint.

Members of three lodges are planning to march in the same area where violence erupted a week ago leading to five consecutive nights of rioting.

It is the second time the Parades Commission adjudication body has blocked Orangemen from parading on a contested stretch of road separating loyalist and nationalist communities.

The Orange Institution branded the decision an indictment of a discredited organisation but appealed for peace on the streets.

A spokesman said: "This decision by the Parades Commission to prevent this dignified parade is a further indictment of this already discredited body. Amid the obvious anger which has manifested itself over recent days, to which the commission must bear full responsibility, Grand Lodge would once again appeal for calm.

"People are entitled to express their views through peaceful protest in a democratic society - however, those intent on causing trouble should stay away from Saturday's parade. Violence is counterproductive and serves no purpose, only damaging the cause of Orangeism."

Disorder has flared almost every night since Orangemen were stopped from taking the same route after their annual Twelfth of July commemorations last Friday.

The Parades Commission expressed disappointment that the Orange Order and unionist politicians did not engage with them.

The determination said: "The Commission has heard oral representation from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association, Sinn Fein and the SDLP and written representation from residents living in Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road. The Commission is disappointed that it did not receive any representations from the parade organiser or any unionist politicians."

More than 70 police officers were injured and over 60 people - including a 12-year-old child - were arrested during the disturbances. The Commission said it expected civic leaders to try and defuse tensions and noted that issues were best resolved through dialogue.

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