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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Hundreds at Orange protest march
The Orange Order Whiterock parade has been suspended
Hundreds of Orangemen have taken part in a protest march in Belfast over the re-routing of a controversial parade.

The Order wanted to go through Workman Avenue, off the Springfield Road, but was ordered by the Parades Commission to go through a former factory site.

However, the Order said it was still determined to hold its traditional Whiterock parade by the autumn.

Nationalist Springfield Road residents welcomed the postponement. Sinn Fein said dialogue was needed on both sides.

South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey of Sinn Fein said: "The Orange Order have not made a commitment to the people of this area that they are going to treat them with respect, that they want to reach accommodation with them.

"That's what the Orange Order need to do - stop the play acting, using other people as a smokescreen, go and talk to people, it's growing up time."

Earlier, DUP councillor Nelson McCausland said the Order was determined to have its parade without being re-routed.

The disgraceful Parades Commission ruling to insult the Orange brethren, by forcing them through an industrial site, has been rightly rejected
Nigel Dodds
North Belfast MP

"The protest parade today is only the start," he said.

"Then, over the coming weeks and months, that campaign strategy will unfold.

"It undoubtedly will include such things as an exploration of a legal challenge to what the parade's commission has done.

"But, in the end, we are determined to secure our basic right to parade there to the Whiterock hall as brethern have done for the past 48 years."

Residents welcome move

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said: "The disgraceful Parades Commission ruling to insult the Orange brethren, by forcing them through an industrial site, has been rightly rejected.

"By their actions in postponing, not cancelling, the Whiterock parade, the Orange Order, the North and West Forum and the entire community are committed to an ongoing campaign for the human and civil rights of Orange brethren and Protestants throughout north and west Belfast. "

In a statement, nationalist residents said the only way to resolve the matter was for the parade organisers to resume negotiations with the residents.

The decision to suspend the parade was announced by the North and West Belfast Parades Forum following a meeting on Friday.

The forum represents a wide range of unionist-loyalist-Orange opinion

Earlier this week, the Parades Commission rejected two applications for it to reverse its decision to impose restrictions on the parade.

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


SEE ALSO:
Appeals for calm over city parade
24 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Commission rejects march appeal
23 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Ombudsman looks at march policing
20 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Parade clash 'wake-up call', Orde
19 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland


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