Category: Archive

Report cites blind eye to loyalist marchers

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The committee concludes in its report for the 2004 loyalist marching season that the police permitted known paramilitaries to march through Catholic areas.
The New York-based IPEC, in liaison with the Brehon Law Society has been monitoring parades in the North since 1997.
The two groups share the reports and views with the northern political parties, the police, governments and community groups.
Most of its members are U.S. citizens who volunteer their services, at the invitation of local residents’ groups, to independently observe and record the actions of police, protesters and marchers.
One of the group’s key findings is that although there has been progress and dialogue on controversial parades outside Belfast, in the city itself there has been no improvement with deteriorating relations between nationalists and the police.
“Outlawed loyalist paramilitary organizations which have killed many Catholics”, including residents of the three areas where it observed parades last summer “were promoted and celebrated by bands and Orange supporters,” the report stated.
In most cases, it said, the groups “publicized and extolled through the display of flags, and bannerettes, the wearing of military-style uniforms, and the chanting of slogans” were the Ulster Defense Association and Ulster Volunteer Force.
At the parade where the most serious violence of last year’s marching season took place, at Ardoyne on July 12th, “an Orangeman carried a UDA bannerette” said the IPEC report.
Also in Ardoyne, at least one leader of the UDA – William Borland – marched with other Orange Order supporters “with the assistance of more than 1,000 police and soldiers in riot gear”, the report stated.
“This was at least the second year in a row that this UDA leader marched through a locked-down Ardoyne. Nationalist leaders said other loyalist leaders were also among the 300-400 rowdy loyalist hangers-on escorted through the nationalist community.”
This, said the IPEC report, “clearly violates conditions placed on contested parades by the Northern Ireland Parades Commission”. It also says that in the Short Strand, “sectarian tunes were played in violation of clear prohibitions on such conduct.”
In Ardoyne, it said, “Sectarian harassment was hurled at nationalist residents” by Orange supporters. It also claims the police allowed the march to go ahead because of “days of loyalist blockades” and “threats by Orangemen to block streets if supporters were not allowed to march with them.”
Nationalists, it said, “viewed this brazen violation of the Parades Commission determination as another example of the police giving in to loyalist and Orange threats of disorder.”
At the Springfield Road march in West Belfast, it stated, nationalists “were disappointed, though perhaps not surprised”, when the Parades Commission reversed its initial ban on the June 26 Orange parade.

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