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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Drumcree parade passes peacefully
There was a visible police presence along the route
There was a visible police presence along the route
The annual protest by Orangemen at Drumcree has passed off peacefully.

The marchers handed in a letter of protest to the police at the refusal to allow them down the Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

It followed a low-key security operation to enforce the latest Parades Commission ruling banning the Orangemen from marching along the road.

There was a visible police presence along the route, but the security operation had been scaled down.

For the ninth year in a row, the march has been prevented from passing through the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road area.

The PSNI said it welcomed "the peaceful outcome" to the parade.

Local district commander, Acting Chief Superintendent Alan Todd, said: "This has been a positive day for the whole of Portadown. There was considerable optimism before the parade and quite clearly that optimism was justified.

"The Orange Order parade and protest has been orderly, peaceful and well marshalled.

"There has been no trouble here today and we hope and trust that pattern will continue for the rest of the marching season."

Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt
Once again we are disappointed by the negative determination from that unaccountable body, the Parades Commission
Darryl Hewitt
Portadown District Master

Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt said: "Once again we are disappointed by the negative determination from that unaccountable body, the Parades Commission."

He added: "The call must go out today from this platform and indeed from Drumcree Hill for so-called Protestants who are members of the 'No Parades Commission' to back their culture, heritage and traditions or else do the honourable thing and resign from this biased, discriminatory anti-parading body."

Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition spokesman Breandan Mac Cionnaith said: "What we have said for the past two years to the Parades Commission and we said it no later than last week is that Drumcree is a dead issue.

"It should be allowed to rest in peace. The Orange Order applied for 2,000 members to parade to Drumcree and we have seen only 400 turn up."

The parade has been marked by serious violence in the past, but it has passed off peacefully in the last three years.

The march has been one of Northern Ireland's most contentious. The route was last used by Orangemen in 1997.

It should be allowed to rest in peace - the Orange Order applied for 2,000 members to parade to Drumcree and we have seen only 400 turn up
Breandan Mac Cionnaith
Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition

Each July, the Portadown Orange Lodge attends a service at Drumcree church to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Since 1998, their homeward route has been blocked by the security forces, following a determination by the Parades Commission.

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

The Orange Institution is the largest loyal order in Northern Ireland.

Its origins date from the 17th century battle for supremacy between Protestantism and Catholicism. Prince William of Orange, originally of the Netherlands, led the fight against Catholic King James.


SEE ALSO
Commission rules out Orange march
30 Jun 06 |  Northern Ireland
Drumcree parade passes peacefully
10 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Drumcree security 'scaled down'
08 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Relaxed mood during Orange parade
09 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Security dismantled at Drumcree
05 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland
Drumcree march passes peacefully
04 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland
Guide to Drumcree parade route
04 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland

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