Northern Ireland

PSNI plea for peaceful summer after Twelfth parades

Alan Todd
Image caption Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd made the plea after hundreds of bands marched in Twelfth parades

The PSNI has urged "those with influence" to work with them to ensure the rest of the summer is "enjoyed in peace and safety" in Northern Ireland.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd made the plea after hundreds of bands marched in Twelfth parades.

The Orange Order called off large demonstrations because of Covid-19 and asked people to celebrate at home.

Its advice was followed in most areas, but social distancing was ignored in some parts of Belfast.

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered on the Shankill Road, where people thronged the footpaths and stood outside bars to watch one of the bands which had been playing.

Image caption A crowd gathered on the Shankill Road on Monday afternoon

In the south of the city, people lined Egmont Gardens, off the Donegall Road, to watch a parade.

However, in many other areas in Belfast, people stayed in their homes and watched bands as they passed.

Other events, including wreath-laying ceremonies, were held across Northern Ireland with social distancing largely being observed.

On Monday evening, ACC Todd said: "I am pleased that today has passed without major incident.

Image caption A "No surrender to Covid-19" sign was erected in Belfast

"I would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work of the organisers of many of today's events and those within local communities who contributed to this largely successful day.

"I would also like to thank my officers and staff who have worked tirelessly and will continue to do so throughout the night to keep our communities safe.

"I would ask everyone, particularly those with influence, to continue to work with us to ensure that the rest of this holiday period can be enjoyed in peace and safety."

Each year, the Orange Order marks the anniversary of the victory of Protestant William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.

Commemorations are usually held on 12 July but due to the Twelfth falling on a Sunday this year, it was marked on Monday, 13 July.

Image copyright Pacemaker

Valerie Quinn, from the Ulster Bands Forum, said both bonfires and parades were "vastly reduced in numbers attending and size", with organisations needing credit for "adhering to the existing restrictions".

"The efforts that the Orange Order and the bands have gone to in order to mark the day in some way safely are wonderful," she told BBC News NI's Good Morning Ulster on Tuesday.

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