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BBC NI's Yvette Shapiro:
"Nationalist residents jeered as the parade emerged"
 real 28k

Northern Ireland Secretary of State John Reid:
"I hope everyone will maintain their dignity"
 real 28k

The BBC's Joe Paley
"The police will be encouraged by the lack of serious trouble this afternoon"
 real 28k

Sunday, 1 July, 2001, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Minor clashes over Orange parade
The parade was allowed to enter Ainsworth Avenue
There have been minor incidents in Belfast following a controversial Orange Order parade in the west of the city.

The annual Whiterock parade, which passed through the mainly nationalist Springfield Road, took place without major incident on Saturday.

Minor scuffles had taken place ahead of the loyalist march when police in riot gear clashed with nationalist residents opposed to the parade.

The residents objected when police and soldiers moved into the garden of a house.

The parade got under way at about 1400 BST and finished before 1600 BST.

road blockade
Police and soldiers erected a blockade

One woman was slightly injured by broken glass when bottles and stones were thrown over the peace line from the Springfield Road into the Protestant Ainsworth area.

The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, called for people to remain calm during what he called this difficult period and through the marching season.

Mr Ahern said people should follow the advice of their leaders.

It is hoped he will meet with his UK counterpart, Tony Blair next week to discuss the next stage in moving the peace process forward.

Earlier, police blocked the road and the army began erecting steel barriers across the front of houses. But residents dismantled most of the razor wire from the barrier and moved forward to a new police line, about 50 yards further up the road.

A crowd, thought to be more than 500 strong, then gathered in anticipation of the parade.

Two water cannon were also moved into place behind the police line.

After appeals from Orange Order leaders, the Parades Commission angered nationalist residents on Friday night by approving a new route from the Shankill to Springfield Roads for the parade.

Click here to see the parade route

Sectarian tensions have been high in both north and west Belfast in recent weeks, with sporadic outbreaks of rioting, pipe bomb attacks on homes, and loyalists obstructing the Holy Cross Catholic primary school in Ardoyne.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid called on everyone to abide by the determination of the Parades Commission.

Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley said the presence of the security forces had increased tension in the area.

Last year there was controversy when a loyalist paramilitary colour party joined the parade on two occasions.

Frances McAuley from the Springfield Residents' Action Group, meanwhile, said that the residents were angry as the Orange Order had been granted the parade without engaging in dialogue with nationalist residents.

She said: "The Orange Order speak to no-one, engage with no-one and break every rule in the book and they have got more than they asked for.

Frances McAuley from the Springfield residents group
Frances McAuley: "Nationalist counter protest will be peaceful"
"We have talked to everyone, engaged with everyone and abided by the commission's decisions."

The main Whiterock parade was allowed to enter Ainsworth Avenue, but at its junction with March Street, the bands turned right and made their way to Woodvale Avenue, before walking through the former Mackie's factory and onto the Springfield Road at Flush Bend.

The Orangemen, meanwhile, continued alone along Ainsworth Street, into Ainsworth Link and Workman Avenue, then out through the peace line gate onto the Springfield Road.

The Orangemen walked up the Springfield Road to join the bands at Flush Link for the rest of their parade.

In its ruling the Parades Commission said it recognised the tensions in both communities and the potential for disorder.

It also placed restrictions on the bands playing music where they passed Catholic areas.

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See also:

29 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Anger over Belfast parade ruling
27 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Paramilitaries join parades meeting
25 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
New restrictions on loyalist parade
21 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Policemen injured in disturbances
04 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein man awarded damages
27 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Paramilitaries join parades meeting
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