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Apprentice Boys have a real blast


Members of the Apprentice Boys march on Derry's walls.

Members of the Apprentice Boys march on Derry's walls.

Members of the Apprentice Boys march on Derry's walls.

Thousands of revellers descended on Londonderrry for high-spirited and relatively trouble-free annual Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry celebrations at the weekend.

Up to 20,000 people — including Apprentice Boys, spectators and tourists, accompanied by 120 bands — marched through the city on Saturday, as the sun shone down.

The parade passed off peacefully, although a police spokeswoman said there were five arrests following minor skirmishes and public order offences.

Feeder parades also took place in a number of locations without serious incidents being reported.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, East Londonderry MLA Gregory Campbell, who participated in the festivities, hailed the event a resounding success.

“There was no violence, no tension, big crowds and sunshine all day long,” the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure said.

“With the combination of a pageant as well as the parade it gave tourists a good opportunity to see the reinactment of a historical event.

“It was very, very peaceful with fewer people wanting confrontation. The celebrations have become more and more part of the scene now and quite a large number of tourists were about on Saturday, taking photos.”

He added: “There were around 20,000 people there, all in all. This year was definitely one of the most successful ever.”

The PSNI officer leading the security operation, Superintendent Paul Douglas, also said the day had been a success.”

Prior to Saturday’s march, the Apprentice Boys had appealed for shopkeepers in the city to stay open for what they promised would be a peaceful event.

Belfast Telegraph