The Parades Commission has ruled that the Protestant Apprentice Boys organisation cannot march through the republican Ardoyne area of north Belfast this weekend. Instead, marchers will travel past the area on buses.
The parade is one of dozens gathering in nationalist Derry this Saturday for the annual ‘Lundy Day’ event, at which a perceived Protestant traitor is burned in effigy.
Smaller than the organisation’s August march, the Lundy Day events last sparked major trouble in the late 1990s.
The Apprentice Boys’ secretary Billy Moore said that while he regretted the Parades’ Commission’s Belfast ruling, he was confident that Saturday’s parade would be a peaceful affair.
“I would hope the residents of Ardoyne will come to respect our traditions and our right to parade,” he said.
Mr Moore pointed out that the December parade was traditionally held on the third Saturday of the month, but was brought forward to the first week to assist Christmas trade.
“It is also historically more accurate, because the gates were closed on the seventh of the month in the old calendar,” Mr Moore said.
Mr Moore backed calls for city centre shops and businesses, many of which closed down during the day in past years, to open as normal.
At approximately 4pm they will conclude their ceremonies by burning a giant effigy of the former Derry city governor they believe to have been a traitor.