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In pictures: Somme parade passes off without trouble

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A parade commemorating those who died in the Battle of the Somme passed off without trouble last night.

The march through east Belfast was met by big crowds, and besides a report of some isolated missiles being thrown, prominent Orangeman Mervyn Gibson said it passed off well.

It took them past the republican Short Strand district, where there was a strong PSNI presence, with police erecting what seemed to be a large metal barrier at the interface between that district and the main road.

There had been around 40 lodges and 35 bands taking part, beginning at around 7.30pm – with many marchers appearing in period costume.

After it finished, Rev Gibson said: “I think there was maybe one or two golf balls, somebody claims, but that’s to be expected. There was no major attack on the parade – and certainly we had a great night.

“The weather was great, the crowds were great,” he said. “We look forward to the same on the Twelfth of July again.”

The march is the largest and longest-running Battle of the Somme anniversary parade.

Ahead of the event, district master Raymond Spiers issued a statement in which he said: “The first of July is always a great occasion in east Belfast and we would encourage family and friends to come and support this parade, which was established just after the war, making it the oldest established memorial to the men of Ulster who fought at the Somme.”

The planned parade route took it from Templemore Avenue, down the Ravenhill Road and along My Lady’s Road, the Woodstock Road, and then followed a route taking it to the Belmont Road for a wreath-laying, and the playing of the Last Post.

This scheduled path then took the marchers back to Templemore Avenue, via the Newtownards Road.

Along the way, they had passed Ballymacarrett Orange Hall, which was decorated with the Union Flag and Scottish Saltire as an act of support for Scottish unionists, as the country geared up for the forthcoming independence referendum.

 

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