Tight security for Apprentice Boys' parade

Monday 16 August 2010 12.02
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Derry - Apprentice Boys' parade
Derry - Apprentice Boys' parade
Ardoyne - March passed off without major incident
Ardoyne - March passed off without major incident

A major security operation was put in place for the main Apprentice Boys' parade in Derry.

About 15,000 people and 140 bands took part in the main march.

Local members of the Apprentice Boys also took part in a march in the city centre this morning past the Diamond where they placed a wreath at the cenotaph before attending a service at St Columb's Cathedral.

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin are among those who have appealed for calm.

Concerns had centred on a protest planned by dissident republicans in Derry that was to coincide with the parade.

It was linked to a dispute between dissident inmates and officials in Maghaberry Prison.

But the protest was cancelled after a deal was brokered earlier in the week to end the jail dispute.

A second parade in the Ardoyne area of Belfast passed off without incident earlier today.

Around 30 members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry - accompanied by a band - walked past the Ardoyne shops area where there was a large police presence.

There was a protest by local residents, but no trouble.

Sinn Féin Assembly member and junior minister Gerry Kelly attended the protest and welcomed the fact that there was no repeat of the violence seen last month.

He also called for talks to broker a long term solution to parades disputes.

Up to 30 stewards from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents' Association monitored the protest.

Mr Kelly held talks with a small group of around a dozen people linked to a separate nationalist residents' group, Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective after some of them had shouted abuse at police and at CARA members.

In July members of the GARC were removed from the same parade route by police after staging a sit down protest before the Orange Order march.

The small GARC group present this morning led by Martin Óg Meehan agreed to join the 60- to 80-strong protest by CARA.

Large numbers of police and two water cannon were held in reserve in the event of trouble, but a relatively low-key presence between protestors and marchers was enough to oversee this morning's events.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commended nationalist residents in the Ardoyne area for the discipline he said they had demonstrated this morning as the feeder parade passed.

He said he hoped the peaceful scenes this morning continued and he appealed to people to take their example from the behaviour of the community in north Belfast.

Eighty PSNI officers were injured in disturbances in the Ardoyne area over the 12 July marching period.