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The main 12th July parade last weekend. Paul Faith/PA Wire

Appeals for calm in Belfast ahead of Orange Order parade

The parade is due to take place at 2.30pm today.

THERE ARE CONCERNS that an Orange Order parade planned today could spark violence similar to that seen last weekend in Belfast.

The riots after the Twelfth of July commemoration parade lasted five days with more than 70 police officers injured in the violence. Today the Orange Order will be distributing leaflets to those taking part in the parade, appealing for calm.

The leaflet says that today is a parade “to show we have not and will not go away”. However it also advises those attending that “no matter what the provocation, violence is not the answer”.

“Any violence will play into the hands of the Republicans,” it continues.

The parade will again be prvented from passing through the nationalist Ardoyne area and will stop at the loyalist Woodvale Road, where most of the trouble was seen last week.

The leaflet to be handed out today asks those involved to disperse once the national anthem has been played.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has also encouraged political and community leaders in Belfast to prevent a reoccurence of violence.

Gilmore noted the progress that has been made in recent days following a visit to Northern Ireland of future talks by Chair Richard Haass, and the commitment by the Orange Order to engage with that process.

He cautioned, however, that we cannot wait for the start of talks in the autumn to ease the tensions around interface areas.

“That work must start now and we must, at all costs, avoid a repeat of the sustained unrest that did so much harm to community relations, investment and job creation efforts earlier this year,” he said.

The PSNI will have a strong presence in the area during the parade, which is due to start at 2.30pm, and into the night.

Related: Parades Commission tells Orange Order: You can’t march through Ardoyne>
Read: Petrol bombs, paint bombs and fireworks seized in Belfast>

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