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The BBC's Kevin Connolly
"Everyone in Northern Ireland is touched by the Drumcree protests"
 real 28k

RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan:
"We will deal resolutely with any violence"
 real 28k

Friday, 6 July, 2001, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Appeal for calm over Drumcree
Loyalist protest
A crowd of loyalists held demonstration at Drumcree
The Church of Ireland Primate, Lord Eames, has appealed for calm and restraint over the Drumcree weekend.

His call came after Orange Order proposals, which he initiated, failed to resolve the Drumcree issue when they were put to the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.

On Thursday, the commission upheld its decision to ban an Orange parade from marching down the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

It is the fourth consecutive year that the parade has been barred from entering the area in County Armagh.

Last year, province-wide protests in support of the Orangemen led to widespread disruption as roads were blocked and loyalist rioting marked several nights of violence.
Lord Eames: Appeal for calm
Lord Eames: Appeal for calm

Lord Eames said there was fear and apprehension in both communities at this time.

But he hoped the Orange Order would build on Thursday's proposals for the future even though they failed to get a parade down the Garvaghy Road this year.

Meanwhile, the Presbyterian moderator said he was concerned paramilitaries could exploit the Drumcree parade dispute.

Dr Alistair Dunlop called on people to turn away from the violent protests of the past.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Brid Rodgers has accused the Orange Order of allowing terrorists to be involved in its demonstrations.

She was speaking after the Ulster Defence Association led a march in Drumcree on Thursday.

The spokesman for the Portadown Orangemen, David Jones, said they welcomed any support as long as it was peaceful.

Click here for parade route

Earlier on Friday, the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, warned police would deal "resolutely" with any violence at Sunday's parade at Drumcree.

But, speaking on RTE radio on Friday, Sir Ronnie said intelligence showed the main loyalist paramilitary groupings did not intend to engage in violence at Drumcree.

"If people want to protest peacefully and lawfully, we will facilitate such protest," he said.

"But the intelligence at the moment is that the paramilitary organisations, by and large, do not want to be organisationally involved in this."
Sir Ronnie Flanagan:
Sir Ronnie Flanagan: "We will facilitate peaceful protest"

On Thursday night, members of the Ulster Defence Association and their supporters staged a demonstration at Drumcree.

A crowd of several hundred loyalists marched as far as army lines at the church at Drumcree in Portadown.

The march was in protest at the Parades Commission's decision to uphold its ruling banning Sunday's parade.

The crowd, accompanied by a band playing loyalist tunes, carried banners with Ulster Freedom Fighter slogans and messages of support from the Lower Shankill to Portadown Orangemen.

The crowd marched as far as two army vehicles, blocking their way.

However, the only confrontation was verbal and the crowd later dispersed.

Earlier in the week the leadership of the UDA/UFF said the organisation had no intention of becoming involved at violence at Drumcree.

However, the paramilitary group did not order individuals to stay away from the protest.

The UDA, the largest loyalist paramilitary group in the province, said it and its associated Ulster Freedom Fighters grouping, supported Orangemen in their right to march.


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See also:

03 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
UDA 'won't start Drumcree violence'
03 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
March mediator's call to paramilitaries
03 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Police injured during rioting
02 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Security fears at Drumcree
02 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Appeal for Drumcree calm
01 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Protestants prepare to march
30 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
'Nothing new' in parade proposals
01 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Minor clashes over Orange parade
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