Apprentice Boys commemorate ‘Shutting of the Gates’
Thousands of loyal order members have paraded through Londonderry in the annual ‘Shutting of the Gates’ commemoration.
Around 3,000 Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) and 23 bands took part in the event which includes the burning of an effigy of the traitor Lundy.
The parade commemorates the 13 young apprentices who closed the walled city’s gates to prevent its capture by the army of Catholic King James II in December 1688.
The resulting Siege of Derry lasted 105 days and claimed more than 10,000 lives.
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A police spokesman said Saturday’s event passed off peacefully with no major issues.
Apprentice Boys governor Graeme Stenhouse said it was important to restore good relations and promote mutual respect after a band wore Parachute Regiment insignia on their uniforms – including a reference to a former soldier facing a murder charge – at an ABOD parade in August. The gesture provoked outrage in the nationalist community.
“We have to remember this is a predominately nationalist city but having said that, we have every right to parade in this city,” Mr Stenhouse told the BBC.
“We have been around for over 300 years, so it is only correct that we get that right – to celebrate our culture and our identity but as always conduct ourselves in the proper manner.”