PSNI: Loyalist parade 'largely peaceful'

04/12/2004 - 18:37:03

Thousands of loyalists paraded through the streets of Derry today without any major trouble.

Despite three arrests for disorderly behaviour police described the scaled down security operation at the annual Apprentice Boys March as a success.

The Lundy’s Day parade was scarred by violence when Northern Ireland’s sectarian tensions were at their height.

But around 2,500 Apprentice Boys and 20 bands passed through the city today without any significant disturbances, further demonstrating the level of compromise reached by loyalists and nationalists.

Superintendent Richard Russell, the police district commander for the area, said: “I’m pleased with the way today’s events have gone.

“The parade was largely peaceful and the city remained fairly normal throughout the day.”

Although rival sides were separated by lines of officers, police chiefs decided not to erect crowd control barriers at flashpoint parts of the route.

The parade marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of the city’s gates by 13 young apprentices against an attack by the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Colonel Robert Lundy, who was governor of Derry at the time of the siege, is loathed by loyalists as a traitor because he tried to persuade the defenders to surrender.

In recent years marchers and nationalists from the Bogside Residents Group have attempted to diffuse the situation through negotiations involving business leaders in the city.

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