Parade planned to mark eighth anniversary of Union flag protests in Belfast

A parade is being organised to mark the eighth anniversary of the Union flag protests in Belfast.

By Gemma Murray
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 12:39 pm

Eight years ago loyalists took to the streets of Belfast after the council voted to reduce the flying of the Union flag at city hall to designated days.

The decision sparked weeks of street protests and disruption as loyalists clashed with police.

A demonstration involving a small number of people continues to be held at the gates of city hall each Saturday since then.

Northern Ireland- 9th March 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Weekly Union Flag protest at the City Hall in Belfast. Loyalist have been protesting since the start of December last year over Belfast City Council's vote to only flay the Union Flag on certain days.

A planned march on Saturday December 5 will make its way towards Belfast City Hall after setting off at 12.15pm from Sandy Row Orange Hall.

According to the Parades Commission website the application for the parade was lodged by Boyne Bridge Defenders Flute Band to start off at 12.15pm on Saturday from Sandy Row Orange Hall.

According to the Parades Commission website the proposed route will be - Short stop at Sandy Row Community Centre to lay a wreath of remembrance

Short stop on Boyne Bridge where a short statement of support will be read - Glengall Street - Great Victoria Street - College Square East -

Loyalist protesters have gathered at Belfast City Hall on the anniversary of a council decision to limit the flying of the Union flag. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Wellington Place - Donegall Square North - Left side at front gates Belfast City Hall.

According to the website the parade should be limited to 15 participants with ‘social distancing to be strictly adhered’ - and have no spectators.

Former deputy lord mayor Billy Dickson told Belfast Live that the parade would not involve any bands.

He said: “Because of the circumstances at the moment we decided not to have any musical instruments coming along and just have 15 in a parade.”

Mr Dickson added: “We don’t want to be accused of drawing a lot of people and then if someone was to take unwell that would be bad publicity for us.

“We’re just going to be as careful as we can, as long as we have our protest and our parade.”