13 August 2005

Parade passes 'without incident'


The main Apprentice Boys demonstration in Derry has passed off peacefully, according to police.

An estimated 10,000 Apprentice Boys and 120 bands took part in the main demonstration.

Superintendent Johnny McCarroll said the march, which commemorates the 1689 Siege of Derry, was the most successful parade in 15 years.

Police said four people were arrested during the day, two for disorderly behaviour and two for drunkenness.

Superintendent McCarroll said that seven bands would also be reported to the Apprentice Boys organisation for misbehaviour.

He said the seven bands had behaved in a "deliberately provocative manner".

Rival groups of loyalists and nationalists exchanged taunts during the parade.

Police praised the Apprentice Boys, the Bogside Residents' Group and Chamber of Commerce.

"It was very successful - I think it was one of the most peaceful parades that I have seen in 15 years of policing," said Supt McCarroll.

"I am very pleased and I am very pleased for the city."

A small return parade involving local members of the loyal order is due to take place at about teatime on Saturday.

Earlier, police in Society Street were attacked with petrol bombs. It happened as an Apprentice Boys bannerette was being dedicated. No-one was injured.

The parade is Northern Ireland's biggest annual loyal order parade.

The main demonstration, which lasted for several hours, was preceded by a religious service and a pageant re-enacting the siege.

The parade has been relatively trouble free in recent years.

The loyal order commemorates the 13 apprentice boys who shut Derry's gates at the start of the siege by the troops of the Catholic King James II in December 1688.

The siege was finally lifted in the summer of 1689.

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