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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Road blocked over parade protest
Protesters with placards
Protesters were watched by small number of police
The Springfield Road in west Belfast has been blocked twice in a day as part of a protest at the re-routing of an Orange Order parade.

Residents and members of the Order blocked the road on Wednesday morning and again in the afternoon.

In June the Order shelved its re-routed Whiterock parade.

It was re-scheduled for this Saturday but again restricted. Protesters said there would be daily blockades until Orangemen get their preferred route.

The Crumlin Road, Ballygomartin Road and West Circular Road were also blocked in the afternoon protest, disrupting traffic in the area for a time.

After the morning protest those taking part said it had been peaceful and they did not stop pedestrians from walking down the road.

A number of them told the BBC they were members of the Orange Order, which wants the parade to go along Workman Avenue and not through the former Mackies factory site.

One of the 20 protesters said feelings were running high about the parade.

"People on the greater Shankill are just boiling," said the man, who did not want to be identified.

"We are not taking this no longer on this road. The residents of the Ardoyne come out and riot and get what they want.

"We come out as a peaceful protest. We'll see what happens."

Protesters block road
Protesters are angry at Orange parade re-routing

The police told protesters it was an illegal blockade and asked them to move. The protest ended at about 0930 BST.

However, Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley accused protesters of trying to "heighten tensions" by creating chaos.

"If the Orange Order want to march through areas where the local community does not want them then at the very least they have an obligation to enter into real and meaningful dialogue."

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said: "The hypocrisy of those responsible for organising and taking part in this road block is breathtaking.

Security meeting

"The mentality seems to be that it is a crime to re-route an Orange parade even though the decision is in the best interests of the community but it is perfectly fine to expect the people travelling from across the north to seek an alternative route to work on a Wednesday morning."

On Saturday, a delegation from the DUP met Security Minister Shaun Woodward to discuss the Parades Commission ruling.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds described the talks as "intense" and described the Parades Commission decision as "misguided."

The initial parade, which was planned for June, and had been opposed by nationalist Springfield Road residents.

In its determination on the parade, the commission cited "a possible adverse effect on community relations" if the march was allowed on the Order's preferred route.

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching season.

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