04 December 2005

Police injured in parade violence

BBC


The main parade in Derry passed off without major incident

Three men have been charged with disorderly behaviour following disturbances in Castlederg on Saturday.

Three police officers were hurt during the trouble which flared as Apprentice Boys returned from Lundy celebrations in Derry.

It is understood the marchers tried to go through a nationalist area.

Parades Commission members consulted with police before the Apprentice Boys were allowed to walk part of the way down the Lurganboy Road in the town.

The Sinn Fein assembly member for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff, said the Parades Commission determination had banned the parade from entering the nationalist part of the town.

"Listening to the people on the ground in Castlederg, nationalists are very, very unhappy at the fact that this loyalist parade was able to enter the Lurganboy Road area of Castlederg," he said.

Disorderly

"Certainly, this is a matter I'll be taking up directly with the Parades Commission and indeed, Irish government minister Dermot Ahern."

Three men, aged 20, 33 and 28, were charged with disorderly behaviour and other offences and will appear at Strabane Magistrates Court later this month.

Earlier on Saturday, the annual Apprentice Boys parade to mark Lundy's Day in Londonderry passed off without major incident.

However, police officers were atacked by youths throwing stones and bottles at Butcher's Gate.

There were five arrests, but the PSNI said they were generally pleased at how the day had gone.

Originally, 3,500 marchers, including 25 bands, were due to take part in the parade, but numbers were affected due to George Best's funeral in Belfast.

The parade marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of Derry's gates by 13 young apprentices against the forces of the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Bandsman marched in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, before heading to Derry.

The PSNI said they had intended to police the Derry event in a way which would enable city life to continue as normally as possible.

Police said they would seize drink and said anyone displaying illegal emblems would have them confiscated and could face prosecution.

Restrictions

The Parades Commission placed conditions on the parade by the Ligoniel Walkers Club in north Belfast.

No music other than a single drumbeat was to be played between the junction of Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road and the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road.


There were some minor disturbances surrounding the parade

Earlier this week, Belfast Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers suggested the parade should be postponed as a mark of respect to George Best's family on the day of his funeral.

However, DUP assembly member William Hay said it would not be possible due to the large numbers of people who were going to Derry from England, Scotland and Wales.

Colonel Robert Lundy is reviled by loyalists as a traitor.

He was governor of Derry when the city came under siege from King James' army and his notoriety stems from his efforts to persuade the defenders to surrender.

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