Residents to oppose loyal march

Nationalists in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast say they will oppose a loyal order march through the area later this month.

Residents held a public meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss concerns about the Apprentice Boys parade after rioting followed an Orange Order parade in the area last month.

One band and the Ligoneil Walker Club consisting of 55 marchers have applied to parade past the Ardoyne shops before boarding buses for the main demonstration in Londonderry on 14 August.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is to meet the Parades Commission to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

The march has passed off without major incident in recent years, but events during the return leg of a feeder parade on the Twelfth of July, has hardened the mood against any loyal order parade.

Residents spokesperson Ger McGuigan said he was not convinced the protest could pass off peacefully if the parade was handled in a similar fashion to the demonstration last month.

"I think there will be a very, very, large protest against it," he said.

"The people of Ardoyne have been treated badly enough and they are not prepared to stand by and let it happen again."

More than 20 police officers were injured when nationalist youths clashed with the security forces after Orange Order supporters were allowed through the area last month.

The parade had been restricted by the Parades Commission which ruled that only lodge members and marshals could take part in the parade back to Ballysillan as it passed the Ardoyne shops.

The police said they acted in accordance with the ruling as the parade's supporters were only allowed up the road after the march had passed.

Mr McGuigan said if the Apprentice Boys parade was pushed through against the community's wishes there could well be trouble.

The Parades Commission is due to meet on Thursday to consider the application.

The government-appointed Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

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