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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 September, 2014

Ardoyne 12 July march passes off peacefully

The Orange Order has said it wants peace during today’s events. Bonfires (pictured) were lit to celebrate 11th Night last night.

Updated 3.35pm

THOUSANDS OF POLICE are taking to the streets around Northern Ireland today as the 12 July marches get underway.

The Orange Order will be holding 18 marches around the province and a PSNI security operation is ongoing, involving 3,500 police officers.

Last night saw bonfires being lit to celebrate what is known as “11th Night” in advance of Orangemen celebrating the Twelfth.

Ardoyne

The early parade down Crumlin Road in north Belfast, which passes by Ardoyne, went off without incident.

This is a controversial route as the Parades Commission has barred the Orange Order from marching back down the Crumlin Road today.

The return march will take place at around 7pm this evening.

It is believed to have been one of the most peaceful beginnings to a marching day in recent years, although more marches are yet to take place.

Bonfires

Last night, police arrested eight people for public order offences over a small number of disturbances in North and West Belfast last night.

One of these people has since been released.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said:

I am pleased that last night was one of the most peaceful in recent years and am encouraged by the responsible behaviour of the vast majority of people involved. I appreciate the efforts of all those involved in ensuring this was the case and I would continue to encourage everyone to work together to ensure that today passes off peacefully and that local communities are not disrupted with the violence witnessed in previous years.

The following people were arrested:

  • A 22 year old male was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour in connection with a disturbance in the Lanark Way area of West Belfast.
  • A 22 year old male was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and assaulting police in connection with a disturbance in the Lanark Way area of West Belfast. He was later released pending a report being sent to the PPS.
  • A 28 year old male was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and criminal damage in the Springfield Road area of West Belfast.
  • An 18 year old male was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and resisting arrest in the Springfield Road area of West Belfast.
  • A 17 year old male was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and assault on police in the Springfield Road area of West Belfast.
  • A 34 year old male was arrested on suspicion of attempted criminal damage in connection with a disturbance in the Oldpark Road area of North Belfast.
  • A 33 year old male was arrested on suspicion of attempted criminal damage in connection with a disturbance in the Oldpark Road area of North Belfast.
  • A 26 year old man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour in connection with a disturbance in the Oldpark Road area of North Belfast and possession of Class B drugs.

Effigy

Yesterday, there was condemnation after a hanged figure depicting Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was placed on a loyalist bonfire.

Adams himself described the image as “deeply offensive and a clear hate crime by those responsible”.

His solicitor has been in touch with the PSNI, who are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The PSNI said it was liaising with local community representatives in relation to “distasteful” incidents with bonfires.

Today’s Irish News reports that a racist banner on the same bonfire as the effigy made reference to “cotton picking n*****s”.

The Orange Order said yesterday that it is organising Orange Order parades, but not protests.

Twelfth of July celebrations - Belfast

11th night bonfires are seen across Belfast last night

Source: Niall Carson

It said its parades will have a swift start time and finish time, and a “swift dispersal” afterwards. Drew Nelson of the Orange Order said that protests are likely to happen and that “nobody could guarantee” they will be peaceful.

Nelson said that the order is “putting in a massive effort to do our best to ensure that peace does prevail”.

Last week, five Unionist parties walked out of cross-party negotiations in Stormont over a decision to block a contentious parade route in Belfast.

Read: Condemnation after lynched figure depicting a Catholic placed on loyalist bonfire>

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