Suggestions have been made that protests similar to the one ongoing at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast should be replicated in other areas in Northern Ireland.
Tommy Cheevers of the North and West Belfast Parades Forum revealed “there has been talk about spreading the peaceful protests to other areas where people are unhappy with decisions made by the Parades Commission, like Castlederg and east Belfast”.
He added that there has been “nothing definite put in place, but there is a general dissatisfaction across the Province with the Parades Commission”.
Mr Cheevers, who says he has been in discussions with residents in Ardoyne for “at least eight years”, said the dialogue “worked”.
“Things did get better and it got to the stage where the parade was coming down with six or seven police officers, and that was it,” he said.
“That was in 2008/09, and the year after that the dissidents appeared. We hadn’t resolved it but we were getting there.”
Mr Cheevers said “it is unfortunate there was no resolution because there has been an awful lot of dialogue and there are representatives from both communities who know each other very well”.
He said two points of concern were the Tour of the North parade and the July 12 parade, adding “then the Parades Commission comes in and says they were taking them away from us, giving the other side what they wanted and undermining the very dialogue they hoped to create”.
“We need to get back around the table,” he added.
“No matter what people think, there was dialogue in that area for years involving all loyal orders and local residents from both sides of the community.
“We are no strangers to each other in these talks. It is costing a fortune and I wish it was resolved but they should not have underestimated the determination within the loyalist community.
“And if they wanted it to escalate or spread they would be extremely capable of doing so.”
On Saturday senior Orangeman William Mawhinney – the County Grand Secretary in Belfast – told crowds: “When the time is right we will probably upscale our protests and that’s just what we intend to do, upscale them right up until civil disobedience if that’s what it takes.”
However, this warning was played down by senior DUP figures and loyalists who say there is no appetite for violence from the Twaddell civil rights camp.
DUP MLA Arlene Foster defended the right of people to protest but said they must be peaceful and that everyone should remain within the law.
Nelson McCausland, a fellow DUP MLA, commended the protestors at Twaddell for the “peacefulness of the protest”.