12,000 expected for 'Derry Day' - the largest loyalist demonstration in the world

Up to 12,000 people are forecast to take part in 'Derry Day' - the largest loyalist demonstration in the world - at the weekend.

Thousands of Apprentice Boys from Ireland and Britain will travel to the city for the annual Relief of Derry celebrations on Saturday which commemorate the lifting of the Siege of Derry in 1689.

The celebrations will take place in Derry from 9.30am on Saturday morning. Dozens of feeder and associated parades are also planned all over the country.

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The ABOD Associated Club General Committee has notified the Parades Commission it expects 10,000 Apprentice Boys and 110 bands to be watched by 2,000 supporters on Saturday.

The Relief of Derry parade will take place in Derry on Saturday.

From 9.30am the eight ABOD Parent Clubs will complete a circuit of the Derry Walls before laying a wreath at the cenotaph in the Diamond and proceeding to St. Columb's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving.

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A Relief of Derry pageant will follow at Carlisle Circus prior to the main parade when thousands of Apprentice Boys will proceed across the Craigavon Bridge and up into the city centre and around the Diamond.

At 5pm the ABOD Parent Clubs and General Committee will make their return to the Memorial Hall from May Street, via the Craigavon Bridge and the Diamond.

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Traditionally old 'Derry's Walls' is played in Society Street once the demonstrations has been completed.

The song commemorates one of the key moments of the Williamite Wars in Ireland when on August 1, 1689 (old style) the Mountjoy, under the Captain Michael Browning who was killed in the action, broke the boom and raised the Siege of Derry.

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One version reads: 'At last, at last, with one broad side,

Kind heaven sent their aid,

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The boom that crossed, The Foyle was broke

And James he was dismayed

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The banner, boys, that floated

Was run aloft with joy,

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God bless the hands that broke the boom,

And saved the Apprentice Boys!'

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The famous chorus goes like this:

'We'll fight and won't surrender

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And come when duty calls,

With heart in hand, and sword and shield

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We'll guard old Derry's Walls.'