Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whiterock Parade in Belfast

I've been informed through a personal report, and media coverage, the Whiterock Parade in West Belfast went off peacefully on Saturday, June 26, 2011. This was in contrast to during the 2005 Whiterock Parade when Molotov cocktails and blast bombs were thrown at police.

In the intervening years, the Whiterock parade has remained contentious between the Orangemen marchers and nationalist residents of the Springfield Road. The Parades Commission had placed restrictions on the route. Approximately 50 Orangemen, consisting of Orange Order No. 9 district officers and members of the Whiterock lodge, were allowed to cross the interface wall on Workman Avenue to march on to the mainly nationalist Springfield Road.

The other approximately 850 march participants were re-routed through the former Mackies Factory site to join the Springfield Road at West Circular Road and proceeded back to West Belfast Orange hall.

Reportedly, approximately 80 nationalist residents and protestors held a peaceful protest as the parade passed by on the Springfield Road. Signs saying “Loyalist threats work” and “Nationalists have a right to protest outside their own homes” were held by the nationalists, however there was no violence.

Police praised marchers and protesters for their responsible approach.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said, "The parade passed off without serious incident and that is largely due to a lot of hard work that went on beforehand behind the scenes."

Regarding the overall mood, many of both the republicans and nationists were very upset with the recent violence in Belfast and Derry (or Londonderry) which they felt was brought about by gangs. In general people were not going to allow the gangs to continue. There seems to be a sense of more cooperation from both sides.

Rory McIlroy Says Northern Ireland Deserves Peace

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