08 July 2005

Drumcree security 'scaled down'


The police have said they plan to scale down physical security measures for this Sunday's Drumcree Orange Order parade in Portadown.

Orangemen are again banned from walking along the nationalist Garvaghy Road on their way back from the church service.

Chief Superintendent Drew Harris said people wanted a peaceful outcome and a quick "return to normality".

He said security measures "will not be kept in place for one minute longer than is necessary".

There has been serious violence in the area of the parade in previous years, although it was peaceful in the last two years.

Orangemen last walked down the Garvaghy Road in 1997.

In subsequent years, their homeward route has been blocked by the security forces following decisions by the Parades Commission.

Physical security measures have included metal barriers and razor wire.


"Last year we worked together with the organisers and the community and the result was a peaceful Drumcree," Mr Harris said.

"This was a positive outcome for the whole community in Portadown and we are optimistic for this year.

"There were great efforts by people in all communities to reduce tension and maintain calm last year. We want to see that happen again and will work with people to achieve that."

Mr Harris urged anyone taking part in parades or protests to do so peacefully and said police would enforce street drinking and traffic management legislation.

"Our policing operation will be professional, balanced and proportionate and will have human rights at its very centre," he added.

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