Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

We can learn from victims' protest: Mike Nesbitt

Mike Nesbitt
Mike Nesbitt

The Ulster Unionist leader has called on all parading and protesting groups to learn the lessons of Castlederg.

Mike Nesbitt pointed out that, despite deep divisions and hurt in the unionist community over Sunday's republican parade, the day passed off peacefully.

He put this down to careful plans and marshalling by Derg Valley Victims Voice (DVVV), the mainly Protestant victims' group that held a protest against the parade.

"I was sent a very detailed statement ahead of the Castlederg parade setting out the standards of conduct. I didn't see that for Friday night in Belfast," said Mr Nesbitt.

He said the same lack of planning by loyalist demonstrators contributed to the disorder at the Woodvale stand-off on July 12 when Orange lodges were halted before reaching Ardoyne shops.

"Having stood in Woodvale Road on the Twelfth for the return parade, it seemed the police didn't know what to expect," said Mr Nesbitt.

In subsequent weeks of protest, the Orange Order issued leaflets setting out acceptable standards of behaviour for their supporters and backed it up with stewards.

"Such ideas should be on the table in the Haass process next month," he said. This was a reference to the all-party talks on parading, flags and the legacy of the past which will be chaired by Richard Haass starting on September 16.

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