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PHOTOS: Thousands march in Belfast for anniversary of Ulster Covenant

The parades have passed off peacefully so far, despite fears of violence breaking out along part of the route.

Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

THOUSANDS OF UNIONISTS have taken to the streets of Belfast to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.

The commemorative parade from Belfast city centre to Stormont, which will last until later this evening, has passed off peacefully so far.

There had been fears that violence could break out as some of the marchers went by a Catholic church in Belfast city centre which was the scene of an incident on 12 July when an Orange Order band was accused of deliberately playing unionist songs outside the church.

Local nationalist residents held up signs along the route calling on the marchers to respect the community and follow guidelines from the Parades Commission which asks bands to refrain from playing unionist anthems.

The Ulster Covenant, which is seen as one of the biggest milestones in the history of unionism in Northern Ireland, was signed by almost 500,000 people in Ulster in 1912 to protest against an Irish Home Rule bill.

PHOTOS: Thousands march in Belfast for anniversary of Ulster Covenant
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Christine Bohan

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