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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Minor protest after Drumcree parade
Several petrol bombs were thrown at police lines
Several petrol bombs were thrown at police lines
A crowd of loyalist protesters have thrown petrol bombs at security forces near Portadown in County Armagh.

Trouble flared several hours after the annual church parade by members of the Orange Order at Drumcree had passed off peacefully.

The parade has been barred from marching down the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road, near Portadown, for the fourth consecutive year.

The Order wants to use the route on its return journey from a Somme Commemoration service at Drumcree Parish Church, but the march is opposed by nationalist residents.

Security fence

A huge steel and concrete security barrier had been put in place to prevent the Orangemen from proceeding down the Garvaghy Road.

A crowd of 400 people gathered at Drumcree hill and a small section of them threw stones and petrol bombs over the top of the security fence.

Click here for parade route

But the Royal Ulster Constabulary described the trouble as "minor".

An RUC spokesman said the petrol bombs "exploded harmlessly" in the no-man's-land between the protesters and the security forces.

By 0200 BST, the RUC said only a handful of the crowd were left and described the situation as "quiet".

Parade route

Meanwhile, a number of petrol bombs have been recovered from the grounds of a school in Portadown.

They were discovered following reports of suspicious activity near Hart Memorial Primary School in Charles Street in the early hours of Monday morning.

The police said it was an attempt to lure a patrol into a petrol bomb ambush.

A window had been broken in one of the school buildings in the hope that a patrol car would come to the scene, said the RUC.

Large planks with nails were also found. The area remains cordoned off.

There was also some minor trouble in Belfast.

Two cars and a van were set on fire in Dunmurry, just south of the city.

Tight security

Some roads were blocked for a short time but traffic disruption was kept to a minimum.

Earlier in the day the Orange Order's planned parade passed off without incident amid tight security.

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

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.

However, the atmosphere during the day was calm as more than 2,000 Orangemen began their annual parade from Carleton Street on Sunday morning and moved countryward along the Corcrain Road, to the hill at Drumcree.

They then attended the church service where a letter was read out from the Church of Ireland Primate Lord Eames, in which he appealed for any protest to be "lawful and dignified."

Dispersed

Then about 200 Orangemen walked down to the security barrier and a senior member of Portadown Orange Lodge made an official complaint to the police.

Speaking afterwards, Portadown district master, Harold Gracey appealed to the Orangemen to remain peaceful, while the Order's grand master, Robert Saulters, vowed that the battle to parade down the road would continue.

The Orangemen then walked back up the hill and dispersed.

Later Sinn Fein assembly member Dara O'Hagan said the Orange Order needed to talk to the residents before progress could be made.


Click here to return

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julian O'Neill:
"Within 50 minutes calm had returned"
The BBC's Denis Murray
"The fear is here that no matter what happens here Drumcree could be the spark for trouble elsewhere in Northern Ireland"
Breandan MacCionnaith
"Both ourselves and the Orange Order must be open minded"
See also:

08 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Order protests over Drumcree ban
08 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Picture gallery: Orange protest at Drumcree
08 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Security forces braced for Drumcree
07 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Barriers go up around Drumcree
06 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Appeal for calm over Drumcree
03 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
UDA 'won't start Drumcree violence'
03 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
March mediator's call to paramilitaries
07 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's marching season
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