Almost 2000 Orange parades have been restricted in the last 11 years, brethren were told today at Drumcree as they were again blocked from completing their return journey.
The figure was revealed by Grand Secretary Drew Nelson, who told assembled Orangemen the public needed reminded that “there are many areas across Northern Ireland where nationalist and republican intolerance – aided and abetted by a weak Parades Commission - is restricting our legitimate religious and cultural expression”.
However, ahead of the pinnacle of the marching season, he called for “peaceful and dignified protest” which he said “remains our best means of opposition to the illogical decisions of the Parades Commission”.
He also commended Portadown District for its “perseverance in maintaining a peaceful protest here for over 6,000 days”.
“Your actions continue to expose the flawed nature of a failed and unsustainable process,” he added.
“And as our Institution and the bands community face much scrutiny over the coming days as we celebrate the 325th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, I would underline that any actions over the Twelfth must be both lawful and passive.
“Our traditions are dear to us and are only undermined by violence.”