THE Loyal Orders commemorating Saturday’s Covenant centenary and the protesters expected to gather in north Belfast have both called for calm.
An expected 150 Carrick Hill residents are due to protest against a feeder parade making its way into the city centre along Donegall Street.
Trouble flared in the area following a Royal Black parade past St Patrick’s Catholic Church last month.
That disorder was preceded by nationalist complaints over the playing of what some regard as a contentious tune by a loyalist band outside the same church on July 12.
A Parades Commission determination governing Saturday’s commemoration means only hymns may be played by bands passing St Patrick’s.
An additional stipulation means no supporters will be allowed along Donegall Street.
A Carrick Hill resident will be in court in Belfast on Friday morning seeking a judicial review of the Parades Commission ruling.
The residents and the Orange Order – the main organisers of the Covenant parade – have been at loggerheads over the need for talks to defuse tensions.
The Belfast County Grand Chaplain has said the Order was prepared to meet the residents’ leader during a series of “quiet conversations”.
The Rev Mervyn Gibson said they were prepared to engage with Carrick Hill residents’ representative Frank Dempsey during the meetings but Mr Dempsey declined to attend.
However, St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan disputed this claim.
Despite the residents’ opposition to the Parades Commission ruling, Mr Dempsey has said they will abide by it.
In the build-up to the Covenant centenary it was revealed that the Orange Order has lifted its ban on parade organisers talking with local residents groups containing republicans.
The new decree – voted through in March this year but only made public on Wednesday – contains a “conscience clause”, meaning no member would be forced to talk directly to republicans against their will.
See Friday’s News Letter for full story