Twaddell protest reaches 1,000 days due to ‘deliberate intolerance’

Twaddell Avenue in Belfast has been at the centre of controversy since Orangemen were prevented from completing a July 12 parade in the area
Twaddell Avenue in Belfast has been at the centre of controversy since Orangemen were prevented from completing a July 12 parade in the area

The protest at Twaddell Avenue in Belfast is due to “organised agitation” by republicans, the Orange Order has claimed.

Thursday sees 1,000 days since loyalists set up the “permanent” camp in 2013 after the Parades Commission blocked Orangemen from completing their traditional parade along the main arterial route, which takes them past the mainly nationalist Ardoyne area.

Protesters have maintained a presence at the interface ever since, at what they describe as a “civil rights” camp.

On Thursday night, a parade will mark 1,000 days of the protest.

It is expected to see crowds travelling from around the Province to attend.

An Orange Order spokesman told the News Letter yesterday: “The demonstration at Twaddell has now been maintained for 1,000 days because of the deliberate intolerance and organised agitation by republicans against the Orange Institution.

“Despite such prejudice, there is a concerted and common will within Orangeism for the principled stand in north Belfast, like that at Drumcree, to continue until the Ligoniel brethren are allowed to exercise their civil and religious liberties on a main arterial route in our capital city.

“Indeed, members of the Institution from right across Northern Ireland, and beyond, have and continue to show their solidarity and support for the three lodges, who have shamefully been denied their basic human rights.

“The protest serves as a permanent public expression of the ongoing and increasing demonisation of our members and our cultural heritage.

“The easy solution remains to simply let the brethren home – but sadly there are those who continue to legitimise and exercise cultural apartheid on our roads, attack our property and constantly demean our traditions.

“They alone must answer why they are not willing to accept Orangeism as part of a truly shared future.”

The News Letter invited Sinn Fein and the Greater Ardoyne Residents Coalition (GARC) to comment but niether responded.