Apprentice Boys parade passes off peacefully

Marchers pass through Derry's Diamond yesterday in the midst of a heavy police presence in the area.
Marchers pass through Derry's Diamond yesterday in the midst of a heavy police presence in the area.
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Derry’s city centre came to a standstill on Saturday as thousands of Apprentice Boys marched in the annual Relief of Derry parade.

Somewhere in the region of 20,000 people took part in the parade which this year came against a backdrop of ongoing rioting and sectarian tensions in Belfast.

The governor of the Apprentice Boys, Jim Brownlee, said those taking part were looking forward to a peaceful day in Derry.

Hundreds of extra police were drafted in for the event and a number of city centre businesses closed for the duration of the parade.

Early yesterday morning, local Orange Order members marched around the city walls before laying wreaths in the Diamond.

A re enactment of the Siege of Derry then took place near the Upper Deck of the Craigavon Place following a ceremony in St Columb’s Cathedral. The main parade got underway at lunchtime as thousands of bandsmen and marchers from across the North made their way up Carlisle Road, Ferryquay Street, around the Diamond and up London Street towards Society Street.

A heavy police presence was maintained in the area for most of the day however despite one minor scuffle the main parade passed off peacefully.

At the time of going to press there were no reports of any trouble or arrests.