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BBC NI's Mervyn Jess
The ring of steel has yet to move into place around Drumcree
 real 28k

BBC NI's Annita McVeigh
Parades Commission proposals are unlikely to resolve dispute before Sunday
 real 28k

Parades Commission chairman Tony Holland
"A limited parade could take place within three to eight months"
 real 28k

Monday, 3 July, 2000, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Loyalists join Drumcree protest

There was a heavy security presence during the loyalist protest
A group of approximately 40 loyalists carrying a paramilitary banner have approached the police lines at Drumcree.

Loyalist protesters blocked roads in a number of areas in Belfast as tension mounted in advance of next Sunday's controversial Orange Order parade in Portadown, County Armagh.

Earlier on Monday, the Parades Commission had issued a determination restricting the Orangemen from returning from their church service via the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road.

The body also said it could foresee a limited Orange Order march on the Garvaghy Road if Portadown Orangemen entered into dialogue with nationalist residents and abandoned any Drumcree-related protests.

The group of protesters at Drumcree is believed to include leading Belfast loyalist, Johnny Adair, who has a conviction for directing terrorism but was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He told the BBC he was there along with others from the Shankill Road supporting the Drumcree protest and the Orangemen's' right to march the Garvaghy Road.

Earlier the security forces had moved in with heavy vehicles which they put in a line along the road.

Others took up positions in the field near Drumcree. Police in riot gear along with dogs kept watch as the protesters approached the security cordon.



Johnny Adair: Supporting Drumcree protest
The banner carried by the protesters, who wore similar white tee-shirts bearing a loyalist 'red hand' symbol, purported to be from the so-called second battalion of the Shankill Road UFF.

This is the same group which last month issued a threat to break the loyalist ceasefire to defend Protestant homes in Belfast against alleged attacks from nationalists.

The threat was later "suspended" following appeals by loyalist and nationalist politicians.

Roads in several areas in Belfast have been blocked off by demonstrators protesting against the Parades Commission decision.

A barricade was set on fire in the Tennant Street area off the Crumlin Road in the north of the city.

Police have blocked off the Shaws Bridge area in south Belfast where demonstrators had erected a barricade.

A crowd has also blocked off the Shore Road area near the Donegall Avenue while protesters in Armagh blocked off a road in the Orangefield estate in Armagh.

Call for restraint

The parades body proposals have been dismissed by the Portadown Orange lodge and the order's ruling body, the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

In a statement issued on Monday night, the Grand Lodge called for restraint among its supporters.

It also accused the government of suppressing Orange culture.

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See also:

03 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Commission ban on Drumcree parade
23 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
UFF lifts ceasefire threat
03 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Police injured during rioting
02 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Security fears at Drumcree
02 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Appeal for Drumcree calm
01 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Garvaghy parades spokesman arrested
01 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Protestants prepare to march
30 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
'Nothing new' in parade proposals
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