TENSIONS MOUNT AS RESIDENTS HOLD ROAD PROTESTS IN NORTH BELFAST

Around 50 GARC supporters hold a white line protest in north Belfast

Around 50 GARC supporters hold a white line protest in north Belfast

IT is just three days to the Twelfth of July and tensions are on the rise in north Belfast.

Around 50 members of a nationalist residents group held a white line road picket in opposition to Friday’s parade in Ardoyne.

Local bands and Orangemen want to walk past the shops at Ardoyne on their way to the Twelfth demonstration in Belfast.

And they also want to return via the same route in the evening.

However, the Parades Commission has still to make a ruling on the two legs of the parade.

If the Commission bans the homeward bound route, loyalists plan to defy the ruling and “push through” a parade, as Belfast Daily revealed last week.

During its white line picket, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said in a statement that the failure of Orange Order representatives and the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) to reach a resolution was “predictable”.

GARC was not invited to the talks.

They argued the annual parade causes major disruption and inconvenience to the community in the area.

GARC has applied to the Parades Commission for a protest on Friday morning and a civil rights march on the Crumlin Road later in the afternoon.

“GARC as representatives of the majority of Ardoyne residents again reaffirms its position opposing all unwelcome sectarian parades,” a statement read.

“This is the will of the vast majority of our residents and as a collective we represent the desire of our people to live peacefully, free from these acts of outdated triumphalist bigotry which have plagued our district for generations and is a blight on our lives as we try to build a better future for our children.”

The annual feeder parade has been marred by serious violence in recent years and it was hoped talks between residents and Orange Lodges move could pave the way for a more peaceful Twelfth.

The talks were initiated at the request of loyalist residents’ group, the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents Association, who called on three local lodges in north Belfast engage in direct dialogue with a nationalist residents group.

In a statement, the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast described the weekend’s talks as “historic” and said they have taken “all possible steps.”

Both sides said they were willing to continue dialogue after the Twelfth.

Other nationalist residents’ groups are also planning to hold protests.

On Wednesday evening, two separate protest marches in Belfast.

The Carrickhill Concerned Residents Committee and the New Lodge North Queen Street residents group have both applied individually to the Parades Commission to stage protest marches from 4.30pm to 5pm on Wednesday evening, each parade comprising of 150 people.

The Carrickhill group has applied to march along Tyrone Street, Kildare Street, Arnon Street, Wall Street, Antrim Street, Stanhope Street, Plunkett Court, Pepperhill Street and Regent Street before congregating at Stanhope Street/Clifton Street down to 18 Clifton Street on the road and the corner of Donegall Street down to Johnstons Solicitors outside St. Patrick’s Church.

The New Lodge North Queen Street group has applied to meet at the bottom of the New Lodge Road before marching along North Queen Street, Clifton street to St Patrick’s church.

In a poster circulating online the Carrick Hill group says it is planning a sit down protest in addition to the march.

The Parades Commission to set to make a ruling on these two applications today.

 

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