Belfast Telegraph

Orangemen tell rioters: don't wreck our parade

By Chris Kilpatrick

The Orange Order has urged those taking part in a protest parade in north Belfast for the second weekend in a row to again ensure it is not hijacked by troublemakers.

Despite last Saturday's protest passing off without incident, a large police presence will be in place this afternoon in case of a repeat of the violence that marred the Twelfth of July commemorations.

The 500-strong parade will set off on the same route as that taken on the Twelfth, leaving from the Shankill towards Ardoyne.

Following Tuesday's determination by the Parades Commission, marchers will again be blocked by police from passing Woodvale Parade.

Loyalists attacked police at that location on the Twelfth but, despite fears of a repeat last Saturday, a subsequent protest parade passed off without incident.

The Orange Order yesterday called for those taking part today to remain peaceful.

Police will repeat last Saturday's operation when dozens of riot squad officers and armoured Land Rovers were deployed to the area.

The Order lodged applications for parades over the next three consecutive Saturdays, including the contentious route along Crumlin Road past Ardoyne. On Tuesday, the Parades Commission determined the marches should not pass along the Crumlin Road today or next Saturday.

Rev Mervyn Gibson said there was no reason why the situation should become a long-running dispute.

"I think nobody wants the long haul," he said. "If everybody plays their part in resolving these issues I don't see any need for a long haul.

"The Ligoniel lodges going home, that could be resolved quickly if there's toleration. The Parades Commission, I think, is already a done deal, and by a done deal I mean they're gone."

His comments followed those of Dr Rob Craig, moderator of the Presbyterian Church, who called on the Orange Order to stand back from its protest.

STORY SO FAR

The contentious parade will set off on the same route as that taken on the Twelfth with those taking part again prevented from passing the Ardoyne shops. Instead the 500 marchers expected and their supporters will be blocked by police at Woodvale Parade on the Woodvale Road. The parade will leave the Shankill area at 2.45pm.

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