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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2005, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Tight security for Orange parade
The Orange Order Whiterock parade is restricted
The Orange Order Whiterock parade is restricted
A major security operation has swung into action in Belfast for the Orange Order's contentious Whiterock parade.

Thousands have lined the Shankill Road to see the parade get under way. It is barred from going through security gates on Springfield Road.

A senior police officer has said he fears loyalist paramilitaries could cause trouble at the march.

Meanwhile, there are disturbances involving protesters on Grosvenor Road, Short Strand and the Albertbridge Road.

The police said they were dealing with the trouble.

A van has also been hijacked at Ohio Street, but recovered a short time later. No-one was injured.

Security for the march involves the police and the Army. Screens have also been erected in front of houses.

On Friday night, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland appealed to community representatives to prevent tensions rising at the parade.

After a request by unionists on Friday, the Parades Commission reviewed its ruling on the Whiterock Parade, but did not change it.

It was re-routed by the Parades Commission through the former Mackies site instead of Workman Avenue, off the mainly nationalist Springfield Road.

Protesters with placards
The road has been blocked by protesters

A feeder march on "a non-contentious part" of the road has been allowed by the commission.

Also on Friday, Springfield Road at Lanark Way was closed for a time as loyalists protested against the re-routing for a third day.

In a statement, the Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge said "in spite of all the risks taken," the Orangemen were "faced with a further attempt to humiliate and suppress their culture".

It said nationalist and republicans would come to understand that "exercising a cultural veto" through their "Parades Commission puppets" would not be allowed to continue "without consequences".

DUP leader Ian Paisley and the UUP's Sir Reg Empey met Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde about the parade route.

They submitted what they said was new evidence to the Parades Commission, asking the body to review its decision, but their request was refused.

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Harry Prichard urged both marchers and protesters to abide by the commission's ruling.

Sean Paul O'Hare from the Springfield Residents Group said tension in the area was high.

The Orange Order first shelved the re-routed parade in June, which had been opposed by nationalist Springfield Road residents. It was re-scheduled for Saturday, but again restricted.

In its determination on the march, the Parades 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.


SEE ALSO:
Whiterock march re-routing stands
08 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
Road blocked over parade protest
07 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
City parade re-routing criticised
02 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
Baton rounds fired during rioting
13 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Orangeman 'met with republican'
30 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland


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