DCSIMG

Orange Order parade passes off peacefully

PSNI officers stand guard on the Woodvale Road in west Belfast on Saturday morning as loyalists hold a march and protest near the interface with Ardoyne

PSNI officers stand guard on the Woodvale Road in west Belfast on Saturday morning as loyalists hold a march and protest near the interface with Ardoyne

The Orange parade in north Belfast passed off peacefully on Saturday.

The Ligoniel Combine, who were not allowed to return past the Ardoyne shopfronts on July 12 last year, had applied again to complete the march.

Last week they expressed their bitter disappointment after being refused permission by the Parades Commission, claiming Saturday would have been the “best opportunity” to resolve the issue.

A total of 140 participants together with two bands applied to take part in Saturday’s march, which began at 9am.

The procession made its way along Woodvale Road before stopping at the police line at the junction of Woodvale Parade.

Another march, with three bands and more participants, took place along the same route on Saturday afternoon.

The afternoon protest march has taken place weekly in the area since the original parade ruling last summer.

Rev Gibson said: “Both parades passed off peacefully. There were no issues and it was all peaceful.”

Addressing the assembled crowd at Twaddell Avenue in the afternoon, Deputy Grand Master of the County Orange Lodge of Belfast, Spencer Beattie welcomed everyone “to this our 331st day of peaceful protest”.

He said: “We meet today as a frustrated people. as an angry people, we meet as a disappointed people but more importantly we meet as an undefeated people.”

He added: “We meet as a determined people. determined to challenge the intolerance of republicans and determined to overturn the injustices of the Parades Commission.”

Mr Beattie said their “campaign is a just one” which he said “does not threaten violence or increase racial tensions, it does not trample over people’s rights or enforce our will on others”.

He slammed “the double speak and double standards of republicans about shared space” saying “it is only shared if it suits republicans”.

 

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