Apprentice Boys marchers provoke city centre outrage
Apprentice Boys marchers provoke city centre outrage


The main Apprentice Boys of Derry parade of the year infuriated residents after loyalist band members were seen to lead inflammatory chanting and sectarian singing at the heart of the overwhelmingly nationalist city.

‘East Bank Protestant Boys Londonderry’ played the tune of the infamous loyalist song, ‘We’ll Fight in The Bogside’, as they passed shoppers and spectators near the cenotaph in the city centre last weekend.

Loyalists loudly sang the lyrics, “We’ll fight in the Bogside. We’ll fight in the Creggan. We’ll fight in the Falls Road, we’ll fight in Ardoyne. For we won’t be mastered by no Fenian B*stard, so come all yee lads when the UDA calls.”

Derry Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly, who was in the city centre shopping with his family, said he was shocked and disgusted his young daughter “was subjected to such bile”.

“It was disgraceful,” he added. “I had my daughter in town shopping for school things. Walking outside the shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon we were subjected to this vile singing by up to 30 people.

“This is a city centre. This is a busy time with people going on holiday and getting geared up for school. A lot of people standing there watching were shoppers. People say others shouldn’t be offended by their culture. People aren’t offended by culture, but are by sectarian chants.”

Separately, a controversial parade through a mainly nationalist village of Rasharkin in County Antrim passed off quietly on Friday night.

The Parades Commission earlier this week banned one loyalist band from being involved in the march because of its conduct over the Twelfth of July in nearby Ballycastle.

The Parades Commission said it received details of the “band’s perceived provocative conduct on that day included wearing face masks, drunkenness and rowdy and antagonistic behaviour”.

Members of Dervock Young Defenders, some wearing Union Jack face masks, were involved in a violent incident in which independent councillor Padraig McShane was injured. Mr McShane was taking part in a protest by residents when he was spat at and taunted by masked loyalist band members, before being dragged to the ground by police as loyalists danced around.

Sean Hanna from Rasharkin Residents Collective welcomed the decision to prevent further provocation from a parade which saw more than 20 loyalist bands march through the nationalist village.

“It was unacceptable that Dervock would be allowed to walk through a Catholic area,” he said.

Mr McShane last night said it was a “a common sense approach by the Parades Commission - given what happened in Ballycastle the banning of this band is unsurprising. Both them and plenty of bands from the loyalist fraternity will need to be looked at closely in the future,” he said.

Mr McShane, who has received further loyalists death threats in the wake of the Ballycastle incident, said that a number of other nationalists have also been spoken to by the PSNI about their safety. He described the threats as “worrying”.

“It’s extremely uncomfortable for the individuals and worrying for their families. It’s a repercussion of unwanted sectarian parades,” he said.

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