Parade row band rebukes mayor
The band at the centre of a controversial pre-Christmas city centre parade has told Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers: "You don't speak for us."
The first citizen - and senior Orange Order member - was 'drummed out' after calling on Pride of the Raven to postpone its planned protest parade on Saturday.
But band Secretary George Spence said: "He's the Lord Mayor, fair enough, and has a right to his own views, but Jim Rodgers does not speak for the band or any member of it.
"We have had two meetings with Mr Rodgers and have walked away with nothing to show for it."
The band is, however, seeking legal advice on its next move after the Parades Commission imposed restrictions on the parade to prevent any intimidation of the Chinese community in the Donegall Pass area.
Mr Spence said the main point of the parade had been to protest at the Commission. But the band had also been disgruntled after police passed an official form with Mr Spence's name and address on it to Alliance South Belfast MLA Anna Lo.
Mr Rodgers appealed to the band to withdraw their application for next Saturday and apply again to the Commission in January.
"I do not believe the band means any offence, but traders in the city centre who do 40% of their annual business in the run up to Christmas are very concerned this parade would disrupt business at a time when many traders are struggling," he said.