High hopes for peaceful parade

The police are optimistic a loyal order parade in Derry will pass off without any major problems.

Security is likely to be reduced for the annual Protestant Apprentice Boys parade on Saturday.

About 2,500 Apprentice Boys and 22 bands are due take part in the main Lundy's Day parade.

It marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of the city's gates by supporters of William of Orange against the forces of the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Foyle District Commander Richard Russell said he wanted the celebrations to be as normal as possible.

"Our aim is to police this event in a way that will allow life in the city to continue as normally as possible and I encourage businesses to open as normal," he said.

"This means that everyone, marchers, bands, supporters and local people can mix on the parade route.

"I appeal to all those people to resist provocative behaviour which remains the only small irritation in a parade which has become a triumph for tolerance between the communities in the city."

Police have said they will confiscate alcohol on buses and on the parade route and illegal emblems will not be allowed. All bands have been warned about their behaviour.

Mr Russell said evidence from CCTV and police cameras would be used to bring public order offenders before the courts.

Contentious parade

Recent years have seen little trouble at the event, after agreement was reached between the Apprentice Boys, the nationalist Bogside Residents' Group and the business community.

Last year, the police said it was one of the most peaceful parades in recent times.

However, 17 people have already been reported for alleged offences arising out of a parade in August.

Meanwhile, eight feeder parades are due to take place in Belfast on Saturday.

In north Belfast, the Parades Commission has ruled that the Ligoniel Walkers Club must not walk past a mainly nationalist area, close to the junctions of the Ardoyne, Crumlin and Woodvale roads.

However, they can be taken by bus along that section of the route before going to Derry for the main parade.

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