Loyalists rerouted from Ardoyne

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The PSNI are undertaking a major policing operation in north Belfast this weekend after a sectarian parade was rerouted away from nationalist areas of north Belfast.

The parading watchdog rejected an application by three Ligoniel lodges to march along the Crumlin Road in order to “complete” their July 12 parade and end a year-long stand-off.

Last July 12 saw extreme violence in north Belfast when loyalists sought to force their way into Ardoyne. A permanent camp was set up at Twaddell Avenue in opposition to the decision to ban the march. The cost for policing the camp has been more than eight million pounds.

The decision was made by the commission after behind-the-scenes talks failed to deliver a resolution to the stalemate. Nationalist politicians and residents’ groups welcomed the ruling.

Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly said the planned parade was “about unionism trying actively to undermine the Parades commission”.

“The behaviour of the loyal orders and paramilitaries since last year’s return parade was restricted by the Parades commission has been scandalous,” he said.

“The camp at Twaddell, countless illegal marches and paramilitary displays at a sensitive interface have all been about increasing tension and bringing pressure to bear on the Parades commission to force a march through the area.”

The Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective met with the Parades commission earlier this week. Spokesman Dee Fennell said the ruling was “the only sensible decision”.

“We met the Parades commission and were forthright in our views and were very assertive that we would be taking radical action to oppose this parade,” he said.

He added that an alternative route exists which “would not offend anyone”.

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