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Saturday, 10 August, 2002, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Parade 'peaceful' despite arrests
Apprentice Boys in Londonderry
Several thousand marchers took part in the parade
The behaviour of some bandsmen taking part in the Apprentice Boys parade in Londonderry has been criticised by the police.

Despite four arrests, the march through the city on Saturday was relatively peaceful.

Thousands of people took part in the annual celebrations to commemorate the Relief of the City in the 17th century.

District commander for the area, chief superintendent Peter Sheridan said both sides were to blame for the disturbances.

Peter Sheridan: Chief superintendent
Peter Sheridan: Said both bandsmen and nationalists were to blame for the disturbances

"I am somewhat disappointed with the behaviour of some of the bands that went into the Diamond area and I will certainly be taking that up both with the leadership of the Apprentice Boys, who I know would not approve of that behaviour, and also with the Parades Commission," he said.

"I would also question why young people would want to be up in the Diamond area to watch a loyalist parade with Celtic tops on them. Why would they be there?"

Police said their presence, including more than 600 officers and 150 soldiers, was less than in previous years.

Three men and a youth were arrested in Shipquay Street on Saturday after taunts were exchanged between marchers and local nationalists as the parade passed through the area.

In recent years, there has been little trouble in the city following an accommodation between the Apprentice Boys and the Bogside Residents Group.

Feeder parade

Several hundred local Apprentice Boys and bands completed a circuit of the city's famous walls to mark the beginning of the day's celebrations.

Loyal order members paraded to the Diamond and laid wreaths at the cenotaph in memory of the dead of two world wars.

A local drama group staged a re-enactment of the Siege of Derry after a religious service at St Columb's Church of Ireland Cathedral, which preceded the main parade.

It is estimated that 15,000 Apprentice Boys accompanied by 140 bands took part.

Earlier, a feeder parade passed the nationalist Ardoyne area of north Belfast with only a number of minor incidents.

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan
Margaret McClenaghan: "Security presence heightened tensions"

A heavy security presence was in place in the area to keep rival nationalist and loyalist groups apart at the flashpoint area.

As the parade passed, a bottle was thrown but there were no reports of any injuries.

Earlier, a group of about 20 youths attacked police Land Rovers.

After the parade had passed both crowds dispersed.

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan, said the heavy security presence had heightened tensions.

Riotous behaviour

But DUP councillor Nelson McCausland, said nationalists had no cause for complaint.

"If you are living in Ardoyne you can't see the parade, you can't hear the parade, what grounds have you got for being offended?" he said.

Three men and a sixteen year-old youth have appeared in court in connection with the disturbances.

All four were charged with riotous behavior and will appear again in court on Sunday.

In April, a contentious Apprentice Boys parade in the Ardoyne area passed off peacefully, after the start of the march was delayed by a hoax bomb alert.

Meanwhile, restrictions have been placed on a number of other Apprentice Boys parades on Saturday.

These include marches in Kilrea, Castlederg, Dunloy, Armagh, Bellaghy, Keady and Lurgan.

BBC NI's Kieron Tourish reports:
"The bulk of the main parade passed off without any major problems, although rival groups traded insults"
See also:

10 Aug 02 | N Ireland
08 Aug 02 | N Ireland
25 Mar 02 | N Ireland
06 Apr 01 | N Ireland
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