Belfast tensions heighten as Orange Order repeat parade is banned from Ardoyne
THE Orange Order has appealed for calm amid increasing tensions following the banning of a parade through an interface area.
Nationalist politicians said the decision by the Order to announce the new parade in north Belfast was "crazy" given current hostilities.
The Parades Commission yesterday ruled that Orangemen cannot walk past the Ardoyne shops during a parade tomorrow.
A Union flag protest group issued a call on Facebook for Orange supporters to take to the streets at the same time across Belfast to deliberately stretch police resources.
The Save Our Union Jack group said: "To coincide with the Orange parade we would like all members of the PUL community to take to the streets in numbers in support of their Orange brethren in north Belfast."
Orangemen applied for the parade from Shankill Road to Ligoniel Orange hall, the same route marchers were prevented from walking on the Twelfth.
Following yesterday's ruling marchers will again be stopped at Woodvale Parade on the Woodvale Road – the same location at which the worst scenes of rioting of the past week occurred.
The Orange Order criticised the latest ruling, reiterating calls for the Parades Commission to be disbanded.
But it said violence was not the answer to unionist grievances, adding that any forthcoming protests must be peaceful.
"This decision by the Parades Commission to prevent this dignified parade is a further indictment of this already discredited body," said a spokesman.
"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."
The Parades Commission expressed disappointment the Order and unionist politicians did not engage with it ahead of yesterday's ruling.
The determination read: "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 have been injured and over 60 people – including a 12-year-old child – arrested during the disturbances over the past five days.
The determination added: "We expect that all elected representatives, clergy, community activists and representatives of the parading organisations will demonstrate genuine civic leadership by using their influence to reduce the potential for conflict and to enhance robust, durable and good community relations whilst encouraging all to uphold the law."
North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly, who met with the Parades Commission yesterday, described the decision as "sensible".
He said dialogue between the Order and nationalist residents was the only solution to the parading issue in north Belfast.
The SDLP's Alban Maginness also met the Commission along with Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association's Joe Marley.
Mr Marley said he believed the Orange Order could pass the route in future. "I think if people come (to talks) with an open mind and a positive outlook, then none of these issues are insurmountable," he said.
Meanwhile, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective said last night that it would cancel its planned protest for Saturday in a bid to lower tensions.
* Around 500 marchers will set off from Brookemount Street at 2.45pm on Saturday.
* They will make their way along the Shankill Road and onto the Woodvale Road.
* Rather than proceed onto the Crumlin Road towards Ligoniel Orange hall, marchers will be blocked at Woodvale Parade.
* The Parades Commission has ruled there must be no stoppages or delays during the parade, which it says must disperse by 4.30pm.
* Those taking part must refrain from singing, chanting or loud drumming and no paramilitary regalia can be displayed.