Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Sunday, 13 July 2008 10:24 UK

Mainly peaceful Twelfth praised

Loyalists march in Ardoyne
A reduced police presence in Ardoyne was hailed as a major step forward

Hundreds of the Orange Order's Twelfth of July parades across Northern Ireland on Saturday passed off without major incident, police have said.

Thousands of Orangemen and supporters marched to mark the 318th anniversary of the battle of the Boyne.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland praised communities for working to resolve contentious issues.

"I would urge everyone to continue to work to ensure mindless disorder stays firmly in the past," he said.

A number of police officers were injured during trouble in Portadown late on Friday, while around the same time there were several clashes in north and west Belfast.

In Rasharkin, County Antrim, police said they used CS spray during trouble on Main Street at about 1830 BST.

Ardoyne in north Belfast has been the scene of violent street clashes in previous years, and while stones were thrown by a small group of youths, Mr McCausland said there were "significantly fewer officers deployed there in the evening".

"This is a major step forward," he said.

Mr McCausland said fewer police officers were on parade duty which meant "we were able to direct valuable resources to tackle crime and key issues of concern in communities".

Underage and on-street drinkers met with a "robust approach", he said.

"This was part of an overall strategy to reduce the consumption of alcohol in public which often leads to anti-social behaviour and crime.

"We welcome the co-operation we have received from the Orange Order, parades organisers, and key partners in addressing this important issue."

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Watch highlights of the parade in Belfast




SEE ALSO
Orange Order on parade across NI
12 Jul 08 |  Northern Ireland
Orangeman slams cultural tourism
12 Jul 08 |  Northern Ireland
Twelfth in pictures
13 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
New face of Belfast's Orangemen
12 Jul 08 |  Northern Ireland


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