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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
'Significant' security for parade
Orangemen at a march
Orange Order is the largest Protestant organisation in NI
A "significant security operation" is being put in place for the Tour of the North Orange march, police have said.

Nationalists are planning a protest at Ardoyne in north Belfast where about 80 Orangemen and their supporters are due to pass on their return route.

Police Superintendent Gary White, who is in charge of the policing operation, said he was very optimistic that it would be a peaceful parade.

"Any breaches of the law will clearly be addressed by us," he said.

"It will be a tactical option how we go about doing that and that will be a decision for the commanders on the ground on the night."

The march is the first to be affected by an extension of the law governing the behaviour of parade supporters.

The police have wider powers to control the movement and behaviour of parade followers at flashpoint areas.

The Tour of the North is among the first of a series of parades by Protestant Orangemen which culminates in the biggest demonstrations on 12 July.

The flashpoint is where the feeder parade passes shops and housing in the mainly nationalist area of Ardoyne.

The Orange Order are responsible for the crowd they bring back with them
Gerry Kelly
Sinn Fein

A ruling by the Parades Commission restricts nationalist protesters to the footpath outside the Ardoyne shops and loyalists supporters also face restrictions, following conflict at a parade last July.

Only when the parade has passed the shops can the supporters proceed, on the direction of the police.

Politicians from all sides have said they have been working for a peaceful outcome.

Alban Maginness, SDLP, said that he hoped that the new law would have a positive impact.

"Of course, it remains to be seen what way the supporters will want to play this," he said.

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein, said he was opposed to the parade but was working for a peaceful outcome.

"The Orange Order are responsible for the crowd they bring back with them," he said.


He said residents had collected firm evidence of what had happened in the past and this parade should not happen.

Nelson McCausland, DUP, claimed that it was republicans who rioted last year.

"Folk have to get back to Ballysillan after the parade," he added.

The parade is expected to last about three hours and set the tone for the marching season over the next few months.

About 1,000 Orangemen are expected to take part.

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

Each year, Orangemen commemorate Protestant Prince William of Orange's 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory over Catholic King James II.

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