Concern over weekend parades
Concern over weekend parades

The PSNI are likely to mount a military-style operation to force an Apprentice Boys parade through a Belfast sectarian interface this weekend.

Eighty-five Apprentice Boys and an accompanying loyalist band have applied for the march, which will take them through the republican Ardoyne area at 8am on Saturday.

In recent years the parade has passed off without major incident. However, following heavy rioting in north Belfast earlier this month there is now expected to be a heavy Crown force presence on Satuday morning.

The Parades Commission has given permission for the parade.

The Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group (APDG) confirmed 100 residents were going to stage a protest, while Republican Network Unity spokesman Karl Reilly said his group would stage its own protest.

Mr McLarnon of the APDG accused the commission of rewarding loyalists’ refusal to engage in dialogue with residents.

“This parade marches down the Crumlin Road simply to pass nationalist houses and once they’ve done this they get on a bus to Derry.

“Where is the culture in that?

“Local residents met the Parades Commission last week and explained to them how they were kept prisoners in their homes on July 13 for hours before the parade was even due to pass.

“The commission has totally ignored residents’ concerns.”

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan expressed her disappointment at the decision.

“You would have thought that following the recent stress caused to this community as a result of Orange parades being facilitated and those who sought to use this as an excuse to inflict great trauma on our community, the Parades Commission would have acknowledged and accepted the need for a sensible resolution to this issue,” she said.

Meanwhile, there were fears of possible trouble during this Saturday’s main parade by the Apprentice Boys organisaton in Derry.

The largest of the loyal order parades, the ‘Relief of Derry’ march, celebrates a 17th century battle victory over Irish Catholics by the Dutch King William.

There have been suggestions that this year’s parade is being targeted by hardline loyalists.

* Police in Scotland have banned an attempt by loyalists to parade through Dumbarton against overwhelming local opposition.

Councillors in the mainly Catholic town in the west of Scotland opposed the parade earlier this week.

One of the matters raised was the behaviour of a loyalist flute band - The Pride of the Rock - at a parade in Dumbarton four years ago.

Two councillors lodged formal objections to the parade after consultations with their constituents.

A council spokesman said the ban “was the only proportionate response to take”.

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