Irish Republican News · July 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: ARDOYNE ANGER
ARDOYNE ANGER

A number of injuries were reported in north Belfast this evening as an anti-Catholic Orange Order parade was forced through the republican Ardoyne community.

At the same time, a tense day-long stand-off in the County Antrim village of Dunloy ended without violence, and a major parade in Derry was largely peaceful.

Orangemen have been staging hundreds of marches today across the North to mark the 17th century battle victory of Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholic army led by King James at the Battle of the Boyne.

Some marches contentiously routed through nationalist area without agreement of the host communities are a source of conflict every summer. The Orange Order officially refuses to hold talks with the host communities, describing residents’ groups as “IRA fronts”.

In north Belfast today, peaceful protests by nationalist residents were dragged off a contentious parade route in Ardoyne.

About 60 protesters who this morning had sought to prevent the outgoing parade were removed without serious violence. Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, who physically intervened to deter clashes, told the crowd they should be “calm, dignified and disciplined”.

The demonstrators, who wore white T-shirts with the slogan “Equality and Respect for Ardoyne Residents” and chanted ‘No Talk, No Walk’, were hauled off by PSNI police and troops in riot gear.

With the permission of the police, fifteen protesters stood on a wall overlooking the route holding aloft a banner saying ‘make sectarianism history’.

A police chief praised the protestors for showing restraint and preventing injuries.

INEVITABLE RIOT

However, despite extraordinary efforts by Sinn Féin officials to reduce tension, clashes erupted this evening as the return leg was forced through with considerable violence.

Police used a water cannon as nationalist protesters created a barricade from a burning vehicle.

A second car was taken from youths by Sinn Féin officials, although other youths in nearby Brampton Park defied the remonstrations of their elders. Petrol bombs and blast bombs were thrown at police in a full-blown riot. One BBC journalist was among those injured.

The situation eased after the PSNI withdrew, but tension in the area remains high.

Mr Adams hit out at the decision to let the parade pass the Ardoyne and criticised the Drumcree-style military operation in the area.

“The huge military presence is entirely over the top,” he said.

“There are huge amounts of British soldiers here and life just stops, nothing happens and you can’t go about your business.”

Mr Adams was soaked by water-cannon as he sought to maintain calm in Ardoyne this evening.

He criticised the PSNI for “setting on” Sinn Féin officials as they attempted to engage in dialogue to deter violence.

Mr Adams also said he defended the right of the Orangemen to march -- “but in these communities where they are not welcome, it is good manners, it is neighbourly, to come and talk about it.”

DUNLOY STAND-OFF

Meanwhile, a day-long standoff between nationalist residents and Orangemen in Dunloy in County Antrim has ended.

A tense situation developed when riot-clad PSNI personnel attempted to force the Orange march through part of the nationalist village, contrary to a determination issued by the Parades Commission.

The Orangemen had sought to gather at the the village’s Presbyterian church, although the Parade Commission’s determination had limited the Dunloy lodge to marching in the area immediately outside its hall.

The PSNI then tried to force the parade along the route which the Commission had barred them from marching.

The Orange Order, led by the DUP’s David Tweed, then threatened to blockade the village. The PSNI failed to make the marchers disperse, creating a very tense and volatile situation.

The stand-off ended after talks between the PSNI and Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness, who urged protesters to be “cool, calm and collected”.

Following talks, a trailer which residents used to block the road was driven off. Police then formally removed the 30 sit-down protesters from the road to the sound of slow handclapping from residents.

The Orangemen then drove in a convoy to the the village’s Presbyterian church.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Phillip McGuigan, who was one of the protesters moved by police, accused the PSNI of attempting to collude with the Orange Order in breaching the determination.

DERRY TROUBLE

In Derry, the outward leg of the parade was peaceful, but there was trouble on the way back in the city-centre Diamond area.

The clases began after groups of nationalists and unionists exchanged taunts. About 10 petrol bombs were thrown at the PSNI.

Unionists have left the area, but there was a standoff between police and nationalists which ended following mediation by local representatives.

Meanwhile, a parade through a contentious route in west Belfast has passed off peacefully.

More than 50 nationalists held a silent roadside protest on the Springfield Road as an Orange march turned into Workman Avenue.

Two bands accompanying lodges were not allowed to play music as part of a Parades Commission ruling.

The commission banned the parade from returning along the same route in the evening.

LURGAN ANGER

In Lurgan, County Armagh, the PSNI provoked anger when it allowed the Orange Order to march through a contentious area of the nationalist town this morning in defiance of a Parades Commission determination.

Around a dozen Orange Order leading officers, including local MP David Simpson and several other unionist politicians, broke away from the parade and proceeded along the entire length of William St, in full Orange regalia.

The PSNI failed to prevent this breach of the determination, and instead gave the illegal parade an escort.

Local Councillor John O Dowd said that, after two successive years of breaches, the PSNI “cannot be trusted to enforce such determinations”. He called on the Police Ombudsman’s office to monitor marches in the town.

TROUBLE-FREE DRUMCREE

On Sunday, the Orange Order parade from Drumcree in Portadown, County Armagh passed off quiet amid a low-profile security presence.

The security operation to block the road at Drumcree has in previous years been the scene of violent confrontations.

The Protestant loyal order had again been banned from parading from the church at Drumcree along the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

© 2005 Irish Republican News