Newton Emerson: Socially distanced Twelfth saw Orange Order finally ditch the rabble

Organisation does not organise bonfires, put up flags or run flute bands but has struggled to disassociate itself from these practices

In Northern Ireland 248 bands marched in their areas for the 12 July celebrations. This year the celebrations were subdued as people adhered to Covid-19 guidance, which only allows for up to 30 people to congregate. Video: Freya McClements

It has been the least bad Twelfth of July in living memory, thanks to celebrations being largely cancelled – something that has never happened voluntarily before in the tradition’s 224 history, apart from during both world wars.

The Orange Order was banned in the mid-19th century, but of course this did not last or prevent trouble.

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