Orange Order parade passes off peacefully in Belfast
Thousands attempt to march past Ardoyne shops on Crumlin Road for third time this month
Orange Order spokesman Mervyn Gibson said there was no danger there would be a repeat today of the violence that erupted after the annual Twelfth of July commemorations. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire
A loyalist protest parade at a north Belfast flashpoint has passed off peacefully.
Several thousand Orange Order members, bandsmen and supporters were blocked from marching past Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road — a stretch that separates loyalist and nationalist communities.
The three Ligoniel lodges, which made their way from the West Belfast Orange Hall on the Shankill Road, were stopped by police at a junction on the nearby Woodvale Road.
This is the same area that was rocked by five nights of rioting earlier this month after the Parades Commission ruled against the order marching through Ardoyne.
Orange Order spokesman Mervyn Gibson said there was no danger there would be a repeat today of the violence that erupted after the annual Twelfth of July commemorations.
“It was very peaceful and we had good crowds,” Mr Gibson said.
“We had spoken to the police beforehand. They knew what we were planning to do and we knew we would be stopped.
“But people still want to get their point across. The lodges want to be able to walk home and we want the Parades Commission gone.”
Marshals were deployed to the Woodvale Road to control the crowd to try to ease tensions between supporters and the police.
Unlike a similar parade held last week, which also passed off without incident, police donned normal uniform as opposed to riot gear.
There was an hour-long protest after the parade was stopped today, which included a number of songs from the bands before the crowds dispersed.
This was the order’s third attempt this month to try to march along the prohibited route.
Representatives have said they will stage a protest every Saturday until the parade past Ardoyne is complete.