Restrictions on loyalist and nationalist parades next month

Parades and protests will take place in Belfast on Saturday Februrary 1.
Parades and protests will take place in Belfast on Saturday Februrary 1.

A number of restrictions have been placed on loyalist and nationalist parades taking place in Belfast on Saturday, February 1.

At 12.15pm, the North Belfast Civil Rights Association is due to march from Duncairn Avenue to a rally at the University of Ulster on York Street.

Around 500 people are expected to take part, along with five bands, to “highlight inequality on housing” and a “lack of leisure facilities in nationalist areas of north Belfast”.

The Parades Commission has ruled that on the return leg to Stanhope Street, the marchers can only proceed as far as the Clifton Street/Trinity Street junction.

Two loyalist protests – objecting to the march being allowed to pass the NI War Memorial – are planned close to the route near Royal Avenue, but have been limited by the commission to 100 people at each location.

The commission has also determined that the civil rights march should disperse before a loyalist band parade leaves Donegall Pass on its way to the city centre at 2pm.

Organised by the South Belfast Young Conquerors “in support of bands at Twaddell Avenue”, the parade will make its way along Shaftesbury Square and Great Victoria Street, through the city centre and towards the Ardoyne area along Royal Avenue and Peters Hill. Around 550 people and five bands are due to take part.

In its determination, the Parades Commission said it had heard “oral representations” from Crumlin Ardoyne Residents’ Association and Sinn Fein outlining concerns in relation to this parade “and the behaviour of the large number of participants of the parade”.