Belfast Telegraph

Parades: Belfast republican march passes off peacefully

Massive police operation during marches in north Belfast

By John Mulgrew

A contentious republican parade in north Belfast has passed off peacefully as hundreds of loyalists protested against the march in north Belfast on Sunday.

Large crowds of loyalists gathered outside Clifton Street Orange Hall on Sunday afternoon in protest over the parade led by the Henry Joy McCracken flute band.

Some 200 people and two bands took part in the march.

Despite concerns over trouble, the outward leg of the parade passed off peacefully. The parade is due to return to north Belfast at around 6pm.

A Parades Commission ruling determined the republican march could not pass by the Clifton Street area, instead being re-routed to avoid the flashpoint area.

It said it was vital for restrictions to be put on the parade to prevent a repeat of recent rioting.

It was blocked from marching along Clifton Street and through the Carrick Hill area.

Marchers were due to make their way to the cemetery at Henry Place, but instead dispersed at the New Lodge.

The commission ruled the parade would not march beyond the junction of Victoria Parade and North Queen Street, instead passing through Victoria Parade, Carlisle Road and Henry Place.

Meanwhile a Royal Black Preceptory parade passed off close-by without incident.

Marchers passed by the contentious flashpoint route of St Patrick's Catholic church in north Belfast - the scene of several outbreaks of violence during parades in recent years.

But while both marches in the north of the city passed off without trouble, the policing operation in place was significant.

Hundreds of officers, dozens of Land Rovers and four water cannon were on stand-by in and around the streets close to where the parades were passing by.


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