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Twelfth of July passes off peacefully

18 July 2014

demotix

Two faces of the Twelfth: above: the junior bass drum of a band from north Belfast, takes part in the Twelfth of July celebrations in north Belfast

Two faces of the Twelfth: above: the junior bass drum of a band from north Belfast, takes part in the Twelfth of July celebrations in north Belfast

THE Orange Order and Northern Irish politicians were praised by the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland after the peaceful end to a contentious Twelfth of July parade in Belfast on Saturday, which, in former years, sparked off days of rioting by Loyalist and Nationalist factions.

The parade by members of lodges from Ligoniel in the north of the city had been banned by the Parades Commission from passing shops at an Ardoyne interface that is a traditional flashpoint.

Chief Constable George Hamilton had deployed 3500 officers, about one-third of them in the small North Belfast enclave, and erected steel barriers up to 400 metres from the shops to prevent any attempt by the lodges to march in the banned area.

The Orange Order, which had indicated its intention of protesting before the event, responded by holding up the 17 main parades of the day for six minutes, the length of time taken for a parade to pass the Ardoyne interface - and said it would escalate peaceful protests in "a graduated response" to the Parades Commission.

The Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, noting the combined efforts by Loyalist and Nationalist politicians to ensure that the day passed off peacefully, said it was important that the whole com-munity and its leaders should build on what had taken place.

 

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