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Residents to protest against agreed Orange Order parade at Ardoyne in Belfast

By Suzanne Breen

A republican residents’ group is to protest against a ground-breaking agreed Orange Order parade in a north Belfast flashpoint on Saturday.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said it plans to hold two protests against the parade and has called for nationalist residents to take to the streets to oppose the deal.

DUP Assembly member Nelson McCausland last night said: “Once again, we see the utter intolerance and intransigence of GARC who always seem intent on creating divisions and heightening tensions.”

GARC is holding a rally in the area on Friday night.

It will today apply to the Parades Commission for permission for residents to gather at Estoril Park at 7pm and march to Ardoyne Library.

It has called on nationalists from other parts of Northern Ireland to attend “to show solidarity” with the people of Ardoyne.

On Saturday, GARC will hold a protest as the Orange Order parade is due down the Crumlin Road at 8.30am.

A ground-breaking deal was agreed last week after talks between the more moderate nationalist residents’ group, the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA) and the lodges.

The agreement allows for the completion of the 2013 Twelfth of July parade.

After the march on Saturday morning, the protest camp at Twaddell Avenue will be dismantled.

The deal has been welcomed by Sinn Fein, unionists, and clerics on both sides of the divide.

However, Dee Fennell of GARC said: “Saturday’s parade is being forced on the people of Ardoyne by loyalists and Sinn Fein. There was no comprehensive consultation with residents.

“More than 8,000 people live in Ardoyne, and CARA claim that 80 were present at the meeting which agreed this deal — less than 1% of the population.”

GARC will lodge its applications for both protests with the Parades Commission today when the commission will also announce its decision on Saturday’s one-off Orange parade.

Around 250 marchers and two bands are due to take part in it.

After the march, the lodges won’t apply for any more return Twelfth parades along the route until a comprehensive local agreement has been reached.

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