The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Martin Reilly, last night praised the people of the city for displaying what he described as “cool heads and respect”, which he said led to an entirely peaceful Twelfth of July flagship demonstration here.
He was speaking in the aftermath of widescale rioting and violence in Belfast on Friday night which saw over 30 police officers and a DUP MP injured while Derry remained quiet after hosting the biggest Orange Order parade in the North.
A total of 5,000 people took part in the parade in Derry on Friday, with thousands more watching.
The Mayor said: “I wish the example shown by all those in Derry could have been replicated elsewhere. Our City of Culture was leading by example and it was great to see the parade pass off peacefully. The comments that we’ve seen on social networking sites and the images we’re sending out about Derry with this will encourage visitors coming from across Ireland, Britain and across the world.
“Peaceful parading in this city is the result of many years of hard work behind the scenes, the fruits of which we see clearly when dialogue is not participated in in other places.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday praised comments made by the City of Derry Orange Order Grand Master James Hetherington, claiming that Mr. Hetherington had shown “wisdom” with his words that: “Londonderry or Derry men like to sit down and talk.”
Speaking at Wilton Park in Derry, however, the Orange Order’s Grand Master Edward Stevenson said Protestants were facing an almost daily onslaught of their British heritage and culture and called for the Parades Commission to be scrapped.
“Republicans are engaging in a cultural war to erode all symbols of Britishness,” he said.