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Saturday, August 14, 1999 Published at 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK


Who are the Apprentice Boys?

Marches were banned in the early 1970s

At the start of the siege of Londonderry in 1689, 13 apprentice boys slammed the city gates against the army of the Catholic King James II.

The Apprentice Boys of Derry, one of the Protestant Loyal Orders, is based upon this defiant action of "no surrender".

New Apprentice Boys can only be initiated inside the city, in ceremonies in August and December each year.

The order holds its main parade in Derry on 12 August to celebrate the relief of the city and the end of the siege.

[ image: Apprentice Boys marching on the walls of Derry]
Apprentice Boys marching on the walls of Derry
Usually some 10,000-12,000 members take part.

There is a lesser demonstration on 18 December, to mark the shutting of the gates, when an effigy is burned of Colonel Lundy, an officer who tried to negotiate the surrender of the city in 1689.

Even today those regarded as traitors to the unionist cause can be referred to as 'Lundies.'

There were serious riots in Derry after the August 1969 march, and parades were banned for the following two years.

The then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, an Apprentice Boy himself, was expelled from the order in 1971 for being associated with the ban.

In 1972 the parade was limited to the predominantly Protestant east side of the River Foyle, the Waterside area.

Bogside controversy

The order's general committee decided to call off the parade but many Apprentice Boys gathered at the Waterside to be addressed by fellow member, the Reverend Ian Paisley.

The Search for Peace
The order was allowed to parade within the old walled city again in 1975, but were banned from taking their usual route around the walls because they overlooked the mainly Catholic Bogside.

In 1985 Unionists boycotted the local council for changing its name from Londonderry to Derry.

Two leading Apprentice Boys officials refused to support the boycott and were dropped by the order.

James Guy, who was replaced as Lieutenant Governor, became Mayor of Derry in 1987-8.

In recent years, renewed controversy over parades by the Protestant Orange Order, and the Apprentice Boys, either through or near to Catholic nationalist areas have led to clashes.

Violent clashes

Lengthy negotiations have often been held in an effort by local community leaders and politicians such as SDLP leader John Hume to avoid violence.

In August 1995 the 'feeder parade', on its way to the main demonstration in Derry, resulted in violence on the nationalist lower Ormeau Road, in which 22 people were injured.

In Derry, the Apprentice Boys marched around the city's historic walls for the first time in many years, and republicans who mounted a sit-down protest were removed by the RUC.

More recently there have also been ugly confrontations between nationalists and marchers in Derry around the time of Apprentice Boys' parades, followed by petrol bomb attacks and stone throwing late at night.

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