Belfast Telegraph

Tour of the North parade passes off peacefully amid a heavy police presence

By David Young

The first major parade of the summer has passed off peacefully in Belfast.

More than 800 members of the Orange Order along with 11 bands took part in the Tour of the North parade on Friday evening which passed through north Belfast.

Although the event had sparked public order problems in the past, this year's parade passed off without incident as it also did in 2015 and 2014.

Tour of the North parade passes off peacefully


North Belfast DUP MLA Nelson McCausland was among the leading Orange men taking part in the procession.

The Parades Commission had imposed several restrictions on the annual parade.

As the loyalist parade made its way down Donegall St past St Patrick’s church — bands were restricted to playing a single drumbeat.

The Commission also insisted that no paramilitary -style clothing be worn during the parade by participants, and that no flags or banners which related to proscribed organisations should be displayed.

Supporters were also banned from accompanying the parade as it passed between the Westlink and Union Street.

There was a substantial police presence along the parade route , which was lined by police armoured vehicles.

At the potential flashpoint outside St Patrick’s Church in Donegall St, police in riot gear swamped the narrow streets.

Elsewhere on the route, police officers were dressed in flak jackets and short sleeved shirts, and as the sun went down, were heard complaining bitterly about the chilly evening breezed.

The North Queen Street Residents group had planned a counter-demonstration, but there was no sign of any confrontation last night as the Orange parade passed down Donegall St into the city centre.

 In 2013, north Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly hit the headlines after being carried a short distance on the front of a moving police vehicle during the Tour of the Norh parade.

Kelly accused over vehicle incident 

The then Stormont Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin also received hospital treatment for an arm injury sustained during the same incident .

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