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The BBC's Toby Sealey
"The atmosphere in Londonderry remains calm and peaceful"
 real 56k

The BBC's Kevin Connolly
"This is still a protestant parade in a largely Catholic city"
 real 28k

Sunday, 13 August, 2000, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
RUC accused of 'provoking' marchers
Apprentice Boys march in Londonderry
Apprentice Boys took part in an annual parade
A member of a Protestant loyal Order in Northern Ireland is expected to make a complaint against the Royal Ulster Constabulary on Sunday about the handling of a parade.

The president of the Kilcrainey branch of the Apprentice Boys of Derry has claimed marchers attending a parade in Lurgan, County Armagh on Saturday were "provoked" by police.

The August Apprentice Boys parades commemorate the Relief of Derry from the forces of the Catholic King James II in 1689.

The parade in Lurgan passed off without major incident.


We have been angry at what has happened due to the RUC deliberately provoking a situation

Roy Ferguson
However, it had been delayed for over an hour by the RUC who prevented buses carrying marchers from making their way to the assembly point via William Street.

President of the Kicrainey branch Roy Ferguson has lodged a complaint with the Northern Ireland Parades Commission which was established in 1997 to determine whether conditions should be placed on contentious parades.

Mr Ferguson said he will lodge a further complaint with the RUC.

He said: "We are angry at what has happened due to the RUC deliberately provoking a situation and making a crisis occur that never existed and didn't need to exist.

"What we have seen tonight is deliberate - Protestants being provoked and trying to force us into breaking the Parades Commission determination."

Earlier that day, thousands of members of the Apprentice Boys celebrated one of the biggest events in the Protestant marching calendar.

The main parade passed off without major incident in Derry, despite an earlier bomb alert which closed a railway line leading to the city.

The march, featuring about 15,000 Apprentice boys and supporters as well as 170 bands, went ahead after the two sides in the city struck a deal earlier in the week.

There was some heckling between nationalists and loyalist during the parade.

Missiles were also thrown at marchers by nationalists and a number of bands broke restrictions on playing music around the cenotaph.

But members of the organisation paraded in and around the city in a more relaxed atmosphere than in previous years.

The atmosphere was praised by the police, town centre management, march organisers and residents.

The march came a day after 500 lb of explosives were made safe after a vehicle had crashed through a checkpoint in the centre of Derry. It was later found abandoned in Donegal.

Meanwhile, the Parades Commission has placed route restrictions on an Orange Order parade in Portadown, County Armagh, on Sunday.

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See also:

12 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Thousands attend Protestant parade
11 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Major NI bomb attack 'thwarted'
10 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
'Flagship parade deal provides hope'
07 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Ruling delayed on NI parade
03 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
The Apprentice Boys' march
08 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Protestant Marches: A line in the sand
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