Northern Ireland

Orange Order Ardoyne parade decision protested by loyalists

Image caption There was rioting in Ardoyne in 2010 following the parade.

About 100 loyalists have protested in north Belfast against the Parades Commission's determination on the Orange Order parade on 12 July.

Its ruling means the contentious march must be clear of an interface at Ardoyne shop fronts by 16:00 BST.

For years, rioting has broken out after the parade. This year it will finish several hours earlier than in the past.

The Orange Order said this would not give them enough time to take part in festivities in the south of the city.

'Anger and frustration'

The Protestant organisation holds its main Belfast demonstration, which commemorates King William III's 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory over Catholic King James II, at Barnett's Demesne, five miles away from Ardoyne.

Image caption Loyalists staged a protest against the Parades Commission's determination on Ardoyne

In previous years the parade has passed through the area on its return from the field at about 19:00 BST.

The DUP's Nigel Dodds, who is the MP for North Belfast, said he had met senior police officers on Monday.

Speaking afterwards, he said there was a sense of "anger and frustration".

"The Parades Commission have undoubtedly made the situation a lot worse," he said.

"What they've done is entirely counter-productive. They've undermined the prospect of getting any permanent solution and greatly increased the prospect of violence on the streets."

The Orange Order have also objected to the Parades Commission's decision to give permission to a nationalist residents group for a protest march an hour later.

Meanwhile, about 200 Orangemen staged a protest on Monday at Hillsborough Castle against the commission's determination on its 12 July parade in Crumlin, a mainly nationalist village in County Antrim.

Letter of protest

While about 5,000 Orangemen will be allowed to march through the village on their way to their demonstration, only one district lodge of about 500 people is permitted to walk on the return journey.

The demonstrators presented a letter of protest to a representative for the secretary of state.

DUP leader Peter Robinson said the decisions on Crumlin and Ardoyne were "bizarre" and "vindicated" his party's proposals to have the commission replaced.

"At Ardoyne and also in Crumlin the rulings are not practical and will actually lead to lodges having their freedom to worship curtailed," said Mr Robinson, who is Northern Ireland's first minister.

He added: "Given that the Twelfth parade only takes place in Crumlin village once every 14 years, serious questions must be asked about the intolerance of those who are opposed to this parade."

Ahead of the determination on the Crumlin parade, a residents group said they were not objecting to the local lodge parading through the village but did not want 50 bands passing through.

The chairman of the Parades Commission has appealed for calm ahead of the Twelfth.

Peter Osborne said the atmosphere surrounding parades had improved and he hoped that a peaceful summer would encourage further progress.

"However, where people and organisations have been unable to reach local agreement over parades, the commission has reluctantly fulfilled its legal obligation to take a decision, balancing rights and promoting sensible ways forward," he said.

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