Belfast Telegraph

**fuckwits all

Tension rises in Twelfth run-up
Appeal for calm as support for protest grows

By Marie Foy
10 July 2004

ORANGE Order chiefs were holding a series of meetings today amid suggestions that protests on the Twelfth could spread across Northern Ireland.

Order sources claim support for the Belfast leadership's stand has been pouring in from county lodges, fuelling fears of copycat tactics should threatened protests go ahead.

The county lodges say they are willing to stage blockades of roads which could disrupt the province and heighten sectarian tensions.

Orangemen are protesting over a Parades Commission decision to prevent bandsmen returning home along a stretch of the Crumlin Road close to nationalist Ardoyne in north Belfast.

Lodges across Northern Ireland will be holding a series of meetings over the weekend to discuss their tactics and contacts with police chiefs in Belfast have not been ruled out, sources in the Order said.

Leading Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers, an ex-Lord Mayor of Belfast and a former spokesman for the Order in the city, appealed to the Secretary of State to intervene urgently.

"This could have very serious repercussions," he said, but added: "I have absolutely no doubt that everything will be carried out in a peaceful fashion."

Orange Order spokesman Nelson McCausland, described the Commission as the "legislative arm of Sinn Fein" and called for its disbandment.

He said the issue was about more than a parade. "It is about the Sinn Fein strategy of isolating Protestant communities and waging psychological warfare on them."

Police have appealed for calm on all sides. Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said: "Communities have the right to parade and to protest but with those rights come responsibilities. People have a right to march as long as they do it peacefully, within the law. They also have a right to protest, peacefully and within the law."

Nationalists, including Eoin O'Broin of Sinn Fein and Martin Morgan of the SDLP, have demanded the Order withdraw threats of protests, saying violence could erupt.

Meanwhile, over 10,000 people were today expected to descend on the Donegal town of Rossnowlagh for its Twelfth celebration.

Members of lodges from across England, Scotland and the Republic were due in the seaside town.

Meanwhile, bonfire builders have been urged to take extra care after a 70ft construction at Shaws Bridge in south Belfast started to sink.Police were forced to close the Milltown Road between 5pm yesterday and 12.30am today causing traffic disruption.

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