Belfast Telegraph

Sit-down protesters are told to keep on walking

by Chris McCann

Sit-down protesters have been urged to stay away from this weekend’s controversial Apprentice Boys parade in Ardoyne.

Locals hope to avoid the civil unrest and riots that marred this year’s Twelfth parade in the Ardoyne area of Belfast

North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said he believed it would be better if such action by local residents didn’t take place as fears mount of a repeat of the violence that marred the area on the Twelfth.

On Monday, the Parades Commission ruled that a limited parade would be allowed to pass the nationalist area of Ardoyne.

A loyalist flute band — Shankill Star, which honours UVF killer Brian Robinson, who murdered Catholic Paddy McKenna on the Crumlin Road in 1989 — has been banned from taking part in the parade.

Although the parades body said no band should accompany Ligoniel Walker Club on the disputed part of its route, nationalist and republican representatives in north Belfast have been left frustrated by the ruling and are calling for calm.

The SDLP’s Mr Maginness said he was “not in favour” of a sit-down protest similar to the one organised by a small community group on the Twelfth of July.

“If people want to protest, they should protest with dignity and peacefully. I would call on people to act responsibly and to refrain from any form of provocation. It is important to maintain the peace at all times,” he said.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) was the group behind the protests last month that resulted in confrontation with the PSNI.

One source told the Community Telegraph the group was a “minority group not representative of the people of Ardoyne”.

The PSNI has said that any protest would be dealt with “proportionately and appropriately”.

The police called for those with influence to dissuade people from engaging in the “appalling scenes of disorder and destruction that we witnessed in Ardoyne over the Twelfth period”.

Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly also appealed for calm, stating: “It is welcome that the grossly offensive loyalist flute band which honours the UVF Killer Brian Robinson, who murdered Paddy McKenna, has been barred.”

He said the issue of contentious parades cannot be resolved without dialogue and said the Parades Commission’s decision to allow |last month’s had been the wrong one.

Belfast Telegraph


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