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BBC NI's Noreen Erskine reports:
"The main parade passed off peacefully"
 real 28k

Friday, 15 June, 2001, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Clashes at Orange parade
tour of the north parade
RUC officers in riot gear flanked the parade
There has been minor trouble at the Protestant Orange Order's Tour of the North parade in north Belfast.

The main parade passed off peacefully, but trouble flared when two lodges broke off from the main parade and headed back towards Ligoneil.

As they passed crowds of nationalists gathered outside shops near Ardyone on the Crumlin Road, stones and missiles were thrown.

The north Belfast Sinn Fein assembly man, Gerry Kelly, was among those who attempted to calm the crowd.


They shouted sectarian abuse, played their sectarian music and waved their flags all over the place

Gerry Kelly MLA

"The people here came out to protest," he said.

"It was agreed in the determination that they would not play music from the far side of the Catholic chapel up to the top of Hesketh Road.

"They shouted sectarian abuse, played their sectarian music and waved their flags all over the place.

"It was an abuse of the residents of this area."

However the Orange Order said their members should be congratulated for their "exemplary conduct".

"It is to be regretted that the repubican forces of Sinn Fein/IRA attempted to deny us our civil rights," said Belfast Grand Master, Dawson Bailie.

'Unlawful protest'

"They had stockpiled bottles, ball bearings and other dangerous missiles which were used to attack to lodges returning to to Ligoneil, the RUC and the Protestant residents of Twadell Avenue.

"All the requirements laid down by the parades commission were strictly adhered to. The same could not be said about the organised and unlawful protest from republicans."

The road was blocked off by RUC landrovers, accompanied by officers wearing riot gear.

Conditions

The parade of 50 lodges accompanied by 21 bands began the tour through the north of the city at about 1930 BST on Friday.

Organisers said that between 2,000 to 3,000 people marched in this year's procession.

Among the marchers was newly elected North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds.

The Democratic Unionist MP said he thought restrictions imposed by the parade were "a basic denial of freedom of expression".

This year's route was the less contentious of the two routes followed on alternate years, avoiding the predominately nationalist areas on the Cliftonville and Antrim roads.

The parades commission had imposed conditions on the route of two feeder parades by two lodges between Ligoneil and Carlisle Circus.

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