Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Video: Orange Order say 'there will be protests' over Ardoyne Twelfth parade ban

The Orange Order has said 'there will be protests' in the coming days over a decision to ban the return leg of a contentious parade in north Belfast.

Addressing media ahead of tomorrow's annual Twelfth events across Northern Ireland, deputy county grand master Spencer Beattie said the "Protestant Unionist Loyalist community has had enough - the rot stops now".

"Yes we are angry, there will be protests over the coming period, but it is our earnest intention and prayer that those protests will be peaceful," he said.

Speaking at Belfast City Hall this morning, he said that a "shadow had been cast" on this year's events following the Parades Commission decision to ban a return parade from passing by a flashpoint in Ardoyne.

"A shadow has been cast on our festivities this year by the Parades Commission with their determinations regarding the parade," he said.

"The Parades Commission - the most damaging determination with their ban of three of our lodges parading along a road.

"It is a determination that will halt progress towards a shared future, and set back community relations.

"Belfast is not a city of equals when the Parades Commission at the behest of Nationalists discriminate and demonise the Unionist community."

He said a shared future with the Parades Commission was "a sham".

While Orangemen will march past the Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road on Friday morning on their way to the annual Twelfth demonstration, the Parades Commission has banned them from taking the same route on their return journey in the afternoon.

Boyne Star LOL 63 on parade through Lurgan during the Twelfth

The interface area has been the scene of serious rioting on the Twelfth in recent years.

As a result of the determination to ban a return leg, the The Assembly will now be recalled next week to debate the Parades Commission ban.

Yesterday, nationalist and loyalist residents in north Belfast held separate white line protests within a short distance over the decision.

While tensions were high with the potential for trouble the gatherings passed off peacefully.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said she did not expect PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to request her intervention to overturn the Commission's decision.

Speaking during a visit to a north Belfast peace and reconciliation centre, Ms Villiers appealed for calm heads over the coming days.

"I would urge everyone to work for a peaceful Twelfth of July. I do not have a legal power to intervene the Parades Commission determination," she said.

"That power is only triggered with an application from the Chief Constable. The chief has not said anything to me and I don't believe for a moment that he will."

While reluctant to outline exact details of planned protests, there are now strong fears the Orange Order move is likely to create a stand-off in north Belfast.

Orange Order chaplain Mervyn Gibson said the Grand Lodge would not consider the Twelfth celebrations to be completed until members impacted by the commission's decision were allowed to return home via the Crumlin Road.

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