Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist parade through Belfast city centre 'will only hit local shops at Christmas'

By John Mulgrew

A proposed loyalist parade through Belfast city centre later this month "will only cause hardship to local traders" during the busy Christmas shopping period, it has been claimed.

An application for the march on November 29 has been put forward to the Parades Commission, under the name the 'Loyal Peoples Protest'.

A total of 10 bands have applied to take part in the parade - which will work its way through the heart of the city if given the go-ahead.

Organisers have said they expect some 6,000 people to attend.

The proposed route includes City Hall, Donegall Place, Royal Avenue, North Street, Shankill Road, Tennent Street, Crumlin Road and Cambrai Street.

It's understood the march has been timed to mark two years since Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag on designated days only.

That led to months of protest and parades across Northern Ireland.

It also had a significant impact on trade in Belfast, during the busiest time of the year for retailers.

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said he was "deeply disappointed".

"Given the history of disruption and tension at these parades it is logical that many people will stay away from the city centre in what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year," he said.

"I am calling on the unionist politicians to show leadership and have the application of this march retracted as it would be in the best interests of all the people of Belfast to have a prosperous and peaceful city centre in the lead up to Christmas."

Organisers have applied for the parade to start at 2.15pm at City Hall, before finishing in Cambrai Street.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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