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Saturday, 7 July, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Northern Ireland's marching season
Portadown Orangemen pass St Johns Catholic Chapel after being prevented from walking down the Catholic Garvaghy Road
Tension is high in Northern Ireland as thousands of Orangemen take part in rallies across to mark the climax of the Protestant marching season. Here, BBC News Online looks at recent flashpoints.


13 July 2001

Protesters set fire to vehicles in north Belfast
Protesters set fire to vehicles in north Belfast

Violence in north Belfast marks the culmination of the marching season. A total of 250 petrol bombs and two blast bombs are thrown during seven hours of clashes in Ardoyne. Police reply with almost 50 plastic bullets. The violence sparks a round of bitter recrimination between the loyalist and republican communities.

 The BBC's Nick Bryant reports


12 July 2001

Loyalists at a bonfire on the Corcrain Estate in Portadown
Loyalists at a bonfire on the Corcrain Estate in Portadown

The 12 July parades celebrate the most important date in the Orange Order's calendar - the 1690 defeat of Catholic King James by Protestant Prince William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne. Security forces in Northern Ireland use water cannons against loyalists protesters celebrating its anniversary.

 The BBC's Andrew Cassell reports


8 July 2001

A verbal protest was made by the Orangemen at the barrier
A verbal protest was made by the Orangemen at the barrier

The annual Drumcree parade by Protestant Orangemen has passed off peacefully amid tight security. The Orangemen staged a protest at the steel and concrete barricade which soldiers had erected to prevent them from marching down the mainly Nationalist Garvachy Road. They dispersed after appeals for calm from their leaders.

 The BBC's Denis Murray reports


7 July 2001

Tension in the area has sparked fears of violence
Soldiers pull barriers into position ahead of the march

Hundreds of soldiers have taken up their positions at Drumcree in Portadown ahead of Sunday's Orange Order Parade. Up to 2,000 Orangemen are expected to turn up for the march, which has been prevented from entering a predominantly Catholic area for the fourth year running.

 The BBC's John Andrew reports


6 July 2001

Sir Ronnie Flanagan: 'We will facilitate peaceful protest'
Sir Ronnie Flanagan: 'We will facilitate peaceful protest'

The RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, says police will deal "resolutely" with any violence at this year's Orange Order parade at Drumcree. Earlier in the week, the Northern Ireland Parades Commission upheld its decision to ban the parade from marching down the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

 The BBC's Fergal Parkinson in Belfast


12 August 2000

Apprentice Boys march in Londonderry
Apprentice Boys march in Londonderry

Thousands of members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry celebrate one of the biggest events in the Protestant marching calendar. The main parade passes off amid tight security but without major incident.

 The BBC's Tom Coulter


12 July 2000

Peaceful climax to Orange marches

Belfast rally venue change in protest at march re-route
Belfast rally venue change in protest at march re-route
The climax of Northern Ireland's marching season passes off peacefully as thousands of members of the Protestant Orange Order march to province-wide rallies. The parades mark the most important date in the Orange calendar - the 1690 defeat of Catholic King James by Protestant Prince William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne.

 The BBC's Denis Murray reports


9 July 2000

Drumcree march draws thousands

Soldiers monitor the barrier at Drumcree
Soldiers monitor the barrier at Drumcree
Hundreds of protesters remain close to the barricade erected by security forces to stop the Orange Order's Drumcree parade, but the march itself passes off peacefully. However the Portadown district lodge says it will not leave after failing to hand in a letter of protest to security forces who prevented them from entering the nationalist Garvaghy Road area of the town.

 The BBC's Denis Murray reports


12 July 1999

Security tight for controversial march

The Belfast march route
The Belfast march route
As marching season reaches its climax, up to 20,000 members of the Protestant Orange Order, who believe the province should remain part of the United Kingdom, march near a mainly Catholic neighbourhood in Belfast.

 Click here to watch the report by the BBC's Denis Murray


6 July 1998

Orangemen turned back at barrier

Orangemen march up to police lines
Orangemen march up to police lines
Thousands of Orangemen are turned away from a massive barricade as they try to complete their annual Orange Parade down the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown. They asked to hand a letter of protest to a senior police officer although there was no one there to accept it.

 The BBC's Denis Murray reports


4 July 1998

Deadlock at Drumcree

Standoff at Drumcree
Standoff at Drumcree
There are appeals for calm and a massive military operation but no suggestion of compromise on the eve of the controversial Drumcree march in Portadown. Orangemen promise to defy the Parades Commission's decision to divert the Drumcree march away from the nationalist Garvaghy road.

 Click here to watch the report by the BBC's Denis Murray


8 July 1997

Mowlam faces criticism over Orange marches

Mo Mowlam was once popular with the Garvachy residents
Mo Mowlam was once popular with the Garvachy residents
Orangemen march at Drumcree with a heavy police presence. The two sides were kept separate by defences erected by the RUC. Northern Ireland Minister Mo Mowlam has been criticised by Portadown residents who say they are losing faith in the peace process and believe she has washed her hands of the parades issue.

 Click here to watch the report by the BBC's Martha Kearney


11 July 1996

Siege at Drumcree ends in violence

Protesters sat down in the middle of the road blocking the Loyalists' path
Protesters sat down in the middle of the road blocking the Loyalists' path
A thousand marchers pass down Portadown's Garvaghy Road following five days of impasse. More than 10,000 Orangemen protested at the blockade when they were prevented from marching through the nationalist area. When the army removed the barrier, demonstrators from the Garvaghy Road estate blocked the loyalists' route.

 Click here to watch the report by the BBC's Kate Adie


11 July 1995

Orangemen march in silence

The RUC blocked the march route for 2 days
The RUC blocked the march route for 2 days
Orangemen march silently through a Catholic area near Drumcree after two days of confrontation with the RUC. The Portadown parade went ahead peacefully in the end with anti-march demonstrators lining rather than blocking the streets. The march followed its traditional route despite the RUC's earlier decision to blockade the Catholic stretch of road.

 Click here to watch the report by the BBC's Denis Murray

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