Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Parades: Loyalist flag protesters plan to bring Belfast to a standstill again

More than 3,000 loyalists - including bands and supporters - marched from City Hall to north Belfast last month Pic Mark Marlow
More than 3,000 loyalists - including bands and supporters - marched from City Hall to north Belfast last month Pic Mark Marlow

Loyalist flag protesters are planning to bring Belfast to a standstill once again to mark one year since the decision to stop flying the Union flag at City Hall every day.

Up to 5,000 loyalists and 40 bands have applied to march along Donegall Place and the city’s main shopping street, Royal Avenue, to mark the milestone on November 30 — the fourth Saturday before Christmas.

The planned parade, applied for by “loyal peaceful protesters” to take place between 2pm and 4pm is marked as ‘sensitive’ on the Parades Commission website, and will be considered on November 19.

Business leaders have urged organisers to call off the latest planned demonstration, which they say will hit retailers hard on an important Christmas shopping day.

Last week First Minister Peter Robinson also urged protesters to consider the economic consequences.

Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the parade application.

Drop in Northern Ireland shoppers sparks Christmas fears for retailers 

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