Belfast Telegraph

Police in stand-off with loyalist bandsmen in north Belfast

BY JOHN MULGREW

Police were involved in a brief stand-off with loyalist bandsmen and supporters last night during a regular protest parade in north Belfast.

It is understood crowds gathered in front of police lines at the bottom of the Crumlin Road after a march in the Twaddell Avenue and Woodvale Road areas at around 7.30pm.

There have been regular ‘protest’ parades in the area since the violent scenes witnessed during the Twelfth, which saw dozens of police officers injured following serious rioting.

Bandsmen have been protesting a Parades Commission decision not to allow marchers to pass by the Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road during the summer.

DUP councillor Guy Spence said that while there were attempts made to continue up the road, there were no reports of any trouble between supporters and police.

“What happened was the bands made an attempt to finally make their way home from the Twelfth,” he said.

“But police stopped them. The bandsmen, brethren and the supporters knew the reaction and reacted in a calm and rational way.”

The Orange Order had previously made several unsuccessful applications to march up the contentious stretch of road in the weeks following the Twelfth.

A police spokesman was not available for comment on last night’s march.

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