Relief of Derry Apprentice Boys parade: 'Low key’ policing as march expected to pass off peacefully
Policing at this weekend’s Apprentice Boys parade will be ‘low key’ despite an anticipated 30,000 people and 150 marching bands arriving in Londonderry on Saturday.
The annual Relief of Derry celebration is the largest parade held anywhere in Northern Ireland — and is expected to be trouble free and non-contentious.
Last year the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the Orange Order, the Black Preceptory along with the Londonderry Bands Forum collectively produced the Maiden City Accord — a set of guidelines for lodge members and bandsmen taking part in parades in Derry.
Coupled with years of dialogue with business, Church and community leaders from both sides of the community, Derry is now held up as an example of peaceful parading.
The governor of the Apprentice Boys, Jim Brownlee, said this week’s extremely successful Maiden City Festival and the acceptance that the city belongs to everyone has left him optimistic about a successful day tomorrow.
He said: “The Relief of Derry is the largest parade in Northern Ireland but as well as being a celebration, it is also held in remembrance of the 8,000 people who died during the Siege.
“There will be around 150 bands taking part in the parade and anything up to 30,000 people or more coming to the city.
“There has been a lot of work ahead of the parade, from the Maiden City Festival as well as the work that has gone into ensuring that this is a city that belongs to everyone.”
Among those who have stayed at the helm of the talks that have resulted in high levels of co-operation from both communities to keep the streets of Derry trouble free is City Centre Manager, Jim Roddy.
He added: “The success of parades like the Apprentice Boys parade this weekend does not come by accident but we expect a successful day where policing can be kept as low key as possible.
“There is a real will on all sides that the day passes off without issue and that the city is held up as an example of where both communities work together for the benefit of the whole city.
“While there is always more we can do and we do try and build on what we have achieved so far, we are hopeful that everyone taking part has a good day and the city itself is once again held up as an example of what dialogue and co-operation can achieve.”