The community group that was behind the sit-down protest in Ardoyne that sparked Monday’s rioting issued a statement yesterday reiterating its opposition to Orange parades in the area.
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said it had appealed to young people to refrain from violence but that “their anger and frustration against an unwelcome parade again spilled over”.
The group was established last year in protest at the annual Orange march through Ardoyne. Its mantra, plastered on lampposts along the Crumlin Road route of the Orange march, says: “We are residents, not dissidents.”
A number of GARC members, including its spokesman Martin Og Meehan, were arrested by riot police during the protest. Yesterday Mr Meehan issued a statement describing the parade as “coat-trailing acts of bigotry”.
The group said it would continue to speak to all interested parties and individuals in attempts to resolve the contentious issue.
GARC’s analysis of the situation was criticised by another residents’ group, the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA). Spokesman Joe Marley said its protest was hijacked by GARC’s sit-down demonstration.
He called for dialogue with the loyal orders to resolve the parades issue.