New PSNI Chief George Hamilton praises peaceful Twelfth day celebrations

New PSNI Chief George Hamilton praises peaceful Twelfth day celebrations

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has praised the “responsible attitude” of those involved in the Twelfth of July parades.

He said the police’s job was made “immensely easier” and that Saturday had “passed off largely successfully”.

Over 3,000 police officers were on duty across Northern Ireland to prevent any repeat of last year’s violence.

There were no incidents as the return leg of a feeder parade was stopped from passing a sectarian flashpoint in north Belfast following a decision by the Parades Commission.

A buffer zone was installed yesterday evening at Woodvale and Orange Order marshalls kept marchers and bandsmen away from police to prevent any confrontations.

Speaking after the day finished quietly, Chief Constable Hamilton said: “We have had a quiet and peaceful parading season up to and including today and I hope that this continues for the rest of the summer.

“I hope that people continue to take responsibility for their own actions and they need to understand that, as I’ve said throughout the past couple of weeks, the police will do our piece to keep people safe and also to collect evidence where people step outside of the law.”

Over 700 people had been convicted over the trouble last year with the courts warning that if rioting erupted again this year those caught would go away for longer sentences to act as a deterrent.

Unionist politicians and senior Orangemen said they would continue what they have called a “graduated response” to the Parades Commission ruling.

North Belfast DUP MLA Nigel Dodds said: “The unity of purpose that has been evident over recent days, has been evident on the ground in north Belfast and has been evident in Northern Ireland today, will continue.

“We will redouble our efforts to ensure that the threat of violence does not win the day, that peaceful democratic means are the way forward and we are committed to that.”

Mervyn Gibson, Orange Order grand chaplain, said: “Today isn’t the end, today is the beginning of this campaign, a furtherance of this campaign, as we move forward to make sure that violence that affects political decisions and affects the Parades Commission isn’t rewarded as it has been in the past.”

PUP leader Billy Hutchinson: “There are threats coming from republicans and there are those who try to use republican threats for political gain.

“I say to them now, there will be no gain and there will be no threats, because the will of the people has spoken and this is the will of the unionist people.”


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