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Orange Order march in Belfast this afternoon. Stephen Kilkenny
12th of july

Tensions remain high for July 12th parades

More than 4,000 PSNI officers backed by 630 reinforcements from Britain are on duty across Northern Ireland.

THERE IS AN  increased police presence throughout Belfast as thousands gather in the city centre for the annual July 12th parades.

More than 4,000 PSNI officers backed by 630 reinforcements from Britain are on duty across Northern Ireland as tensions remain high following the Parade Commission’s decision not to allow a contentious parade march past the Ardoyne area later this evening. The parade has been the scene of intense rioting over the past number of years.

“The Parades Commission are showing that violence pays. By their actions they’ve created this crisis,” said the Rev. Mervyn Gibson, the Orange Order’s chaplain and a former police officer.

When asked whether Protestants should respect the Parades Commission’s legal authority, Gibson said no:

We cannot accept something that is so deliberately stacked against us. This is not about 300 yards of road. This is people trying to get home.

(Source: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

There were claims earlier this morning that the Orange Order parade past St Patrick’s Church and Carrick Hill in North Belfast  broke several rules laid down by the Parades’ Commission. The Orange Order were criticised last year for after a parade stopped outside St Patrick’s Church and played sectarian songs.

Sinn Féin MLA Caral Ni Chuilín said:

There were numerous breeches of the Parades Commission determination at St Patrick’s and Carrick Hill this morning. Bands played provocative and sectarian tunes passing both St Patrick’s and Carrick Hill. Indeed one band actually sang the racist Famine song seconds after passing St Patrick’s.

A 28 year old man was also charged in Belfast this afternoon with possessing articles for use in petrol bombs after he was arrested in the Broadway area of the city last night.

Additional reporting from Associated Press.

Read: Ardoyne parade banned as Northern Ireland readies for ‘Twelfth’

Read: Orange Order banned from marching through Ardoyne area

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