Belfast Telegraph

Controversial marches in Belfast pass off peacefully

By Allan Preston

Three controversial marches held in Belfast have passed off relatively peacefully, following an order from the Parades Commission to keep them apart.

Loyalist protesters from the Loyal People's Protest (LPP) had listed the possibility of up to 10,000 supporters taking part.

After a morning of heavy rain however, a relatively small crowd gathered at Belfast City Hall around midday.

Yards away the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism (NIAT) group held a separate rally attended by about 50 people with two leaders from the far right group Britain First speaking.

Opposing their presence was a further group of demonstrators called Belfast Says No to Fascism with police keeping the groups apart.

It's understood one person was arrested after a tin of juice was thrown at a member of Britain First.

Otherwise, no serious trouble was reported.

Meanwhile, a Republican anti-internment parade had been ordered by the Parades Commission not to pass beyond North Queen Street and to stay out of the city centre.

Ten police land rovers and around 30 officers lined up along the road to prevent the protesters going any further.

Shortly before 1pm the group of around 300 people, holding banners calling to "End British Internment" along with a marching band appeared.

The marchers stopped briefly around 200 metres from the police line, before walking face to face with police.

One of the march organisers, Dee Fennell, addressed the crowds and spoke about being denied entry to the city centre.

Some individuals directed insults at the police officers, but in all the atmosphere was not highly charged when the band started and the marchers turned around 15 minutes later.

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