Belfast Telegraph

Republicans plan Twelfth march to protest over Orange Order parade

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Hardline republicans may press ahead with an "alternative march" close to a contentious Orange Order parade in north Belfast - even if they are refused permission, they have warned.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective (GARC), which last year mounted a sit-down protest against a loyalist feeder parade that annually passes the nationalist Ardoyne area, has applied for 200 participants to march from Berwick Road, Estorial Park, Crumlin Road and Brompton Park between 7pm and 9pm on July 12 - at the same time as dozens of bandsmen return from Twelfth demonstrations across the city.

The Parades Commission is due to make its determination on the application tomorrow.

However, GARC spokesman Martin Og Meehan said the group would be making its opposition known regardless.

"We are more than determined to express our opposition to triumphalist loyalist parades," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"At the end of the day, we are standing up for the civil rights of the Ardoyne residents. Residents have repeatedly over a number of years said that these loyalist parades are not welcome. We are asking for a march within our own community. It will not infringe on the loyalist community.

"We totally recognise and accept that the loyalist, unionist community have the right to express their rights and culture, however they should do so where these parades are welcome.

"It is the people who insist on these parades and forcing them through our area that are stoking up the tensions. We are just asking for what is rightfully ours."

GARC is due to meet other members of fringe republican groups including the IRSP, eirigi and Republican Network for Unity to discuss its response to the loyalist feeder parade.

Last year 80 police officers were injured during four days of serious rioting in Ardoyne.

Earlier this week Rodger Jarro Costa (29) from Barcelona and Hugh Martin (21) from Jamaica Road in Ardoyne were among a number of people jailed for their part in the disorder.

Mr Meehan, a former IRA prisoner who does not support the peace process, was also arrested and is due in court next month.

He said he would condemn any violence that erupted this year.

"Violence on the Crumlin Road has been endemic for decades, long before GARC had a sit-down protest last year. We are trying to deal with the situation. We have been asking for talks. We have held talks with CARA, the Parades Commission, political parties and groups but the loyalist community refuse to communicate.

"We are asking people to turn up at the given time, to be peaceful, calm and dignified and to march within the community and not to use any violence."

Belfast Telegraph


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