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Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Trimble appeal over Drumcree parade
Orangmen marching
Drumcree parade has been restricted for the fifth year
Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble has called for calm over the weekend of the Drumcree parade in County Armagh.

Mr Trimble was speaking on Saturday as a major security operation was due to get under way ahead of Sunday's controversial Orange Order march.

The Parades Commission upheld its Drumcree decision on Friday, banning the Orange Order from walking on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

The Orange Order had sought a review of the determination on the Drumcree parade, which was announced earlier this week.

David Trimble: UUP leader
Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble

It is the fifth successive year the parade has been barred from taking this route.

The decision came as the police officer in charge of security at Drumcree said he believed there was less likelihood of trouble at the march this 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.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White said he believed this year's parade would be "peaceful and dignified".

Click here for parade route

ACC White said there would still be large scale police and Army deployment in Portadown on Sunday and that those resources could be better used.

"No one is ever happy that police resources that could be involved in dealing with crime and disorder and all the things that blight our society are tied up in large numbers in one particular place," he said.

"But I'm certainly content - with the information and the goodwill that exists - that there will be less likelihood of violence here than there has been in the past."
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White: Parade will be dignified
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White: Parade will be dignified

Mass protests have been staged at Drumcree when the Orange parade has been re-routed away from the Garvaghy Road, although in recent years the numbers have gone down.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, property has been attacked and destroyed by rioters.

At the height of that violence, illegal roadblocks were thrown up in a co-ordinated campaign by loyalist supporters of the Drumcree Orangemen, bringing parts of Northern Ireland to a standstill.

When the Orange parade has been forced down the Garvaghy Road amid a massive security operation, against the wishes of the people who live there, serious disturbances have ensued in republican and nationalist areas.

This Sunday, the Portadown Lodges will continue the tradition of leaving Drumcree church, marching a few hundred yards down the hill before being brought to a halt by the police and Army barrier blocking their route.

The Northern Ireland Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.


Sir Reg Empey is to put proposal before commission
Sir Reg Empey is to put proposal before commission

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See also:

01 Jul 02 | N Ireland
27 Jun 02 | N Ireland
01 Jul 01 | N Ireland
05 Jul 01 | N Ireland
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