A parade banned from marching through a mixed area in north Belfast passed off without incident yesterday.
The procession had been prevented from going through the Kilcoole area by a Parades Commission determination. Its decision prompted outrage from the lodges of No4 District of the Orange Order and unionist politicians for the area.
Yesterday, several hundred people gathered in support of those taking part in the parade which included three bands — the Ballysillan Volunteers, Pride of Ardoyne and Cloughfern Young Conquerors.
The procession was planned to turn off the Ballysillan Road and make its way around the Kilcoole area but was stopped by a line of police Land Rovers. While the parade was halted formal letters of protest were handed to the police commanders of the operation.
It then returned back up the Ballysillan Road via an alternative route and finished peacefully.
The Parades Commission website listed 500 expected participants and had stated the procession was “sensitive”.
“Kilcoole Park is one of two entrance roads into a mixed residential area, described variously by a large number of residents as a ‘neutral area’, a ‘peaceful, mixed area’ and as a ‘quiet area’,” it said.
The commission added that it had received both written and oral objections to the procession.
Its decision to ban it from using part of the planned route prompted strong condemnation.
Members of No4 District said in a statement issued via the Orange Order: “By banning the procession from entering Kilcoole, the commissioners have displayed contempt for the traditions and heritage of our community.
“This has led to immense anger among local residents.”
A DUP spokesperson said: “Whilst the permitted route has now been extended, it is disgraceful that the parade is still not not permitted to enter the Kilcoole area, which is a majority Protestant area where many members of the Loyal Orders live.”