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Parades: 10,000 loyalist protesters to descend on Belfast city centre

By Chris Kilpatrick

Published 12/09/2013

The scene of serious disorder on Royal Avenue last month when hundreds of loyalists pelted police with missiles
The scene of serious disorder on Royal Avenue last month when hundreds of loyalists pelted police with missiles

Around 10,000 loyalist protesters plan to descend on Belfast city centre next week.

A large parade is due to take place on Saturday, September 21 organised by a group calling itself Loyal Peaceful Protesters.

It has notified the Parades Commission of plans for a parade consisting 20 bands and 5,000 marchers.

Organisers expect 5,000 supporters to turn out for the event.

Marchers plan to set off from City Hall at 2pm and make their way along Royal Avenue, North Street, Shankill Road and Woodvale Road.

The parade will finish at Woodvale Parade, the spot where a Loyal Order feeder parade was blocked on July 12, preventing it proceeding along the Crumlin Road, past the Ardoyne shops.

That sparked fierce rioting in the area with police coming under sustained attack from loyalists.

The upcoming parade is due to join an ongoing weekly protest march against the Twelfth decision.

There was also serious disorder on Royal Avenue last month when hundreds of loyalists pelted police with missiles.

Thousands of protesters had turned out against a republican anti-internment parade which had been due to make its way through the centre of the city.

Loyalists attacked police with missiles, smoke bombs and fireworks during a stand-off against the republican rally, injuring dozens of police officers.

Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said the union, which represents 7,000 PSNI officers here, had "major concern" regarding the forthcoming parade.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association has appealed for calm.

The Parades Commission will rule on the march at the beginning of next week.

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