Clashes as marching season begins
Clashes as marching season begins


The Protestant marching season has started badly, with disturbances at two separate events this week.

The worst trouble took place following a controversial Easter Monday parade by the Apprentice Boys of Derry. Petrol bombs were thrown in Lurgan and a van that was set alight at the Lake Street railway junction, closing the railway line in the early hours of Monday morning

There were also violent clashes in angry confrontations between the PSNI and residents of the Kilwilkie estate later on Monday. Trouble erupted in the Kilwilkie estate a few hours after an Apprentice Boys’ parade through the County Armagh town on Monday afternoon.

The railway line was closed on Monday afternoon for the second time in 24 hours and services between Belfast and Dublin were disrupted. A PSNI Land Rover which took up a position in the staunchly republican estate was targeted by local youths.

Tensions in the area had been elevated as republicans commemorated the centenary of the Easter Rising.

The giant Apprentice Boys march in Lurgan was the first in the County Armagh town since 1994. The decision to organise the parade in the town, including a number of bands with loyalist paramilitary links, was seen as a deliberate attempt to stir up trouble during the Easter commemorations.

SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly described the parade was “provocative” and nothing more than a “coat-trailing exercise”, while Ulster Unionist councillor Colin McCusker said the parade had been an attempt “to ensure there are no no-go areas” for the Apprentice Boys.


On Tuesday evening, there were disturbances at the end of the parade involving junior members of the Orange Order in south Belfast.

Adult participants in the parade were seen to be deliberately damaging cars along the parade route. When the PSNI intervened, violent clashes erupted and the PSNI drew their batons and CS spray, which is nortmally only used against nationalists. Loyalists said children developed swollen lips and eyes as a result of the spray.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said the incident was a “source of concern”, while DUP leader Arlene Foster said she had spoken with PSNI Chief George Hamilton about the incident.

The PSNI’s Chris Noble said he ‘deeply regretted’ the use of the spray, which this did not prevent threats of loyalist reprisals against the PSNI members involved.

One of the PSNI men allegedly involved was identified and pictured in a Facebook post. Threats were made against his family in comments posted underneath the picture. DUP Ballymena councillor John Carson described members of the PSNI as “boot boys”.

The next potential flashpoint is a special parade by loyalists in Belfast this week to mark 1,000 days since the beginning of a protest in north of the vity.

The Twaddell loyalist camp has continued since the Protestant marcning orders were rerouted awaay from the nationalist Ardoyne area in 2013. Since then, members of the POrange order have paraded daily every day, except Sunday, from the Twaddell camp up towards Ardoyne. Around 500 participants are due to take part along with two flute bands.


Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2016 Irish Republican News