Thousands gather for Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry commemoration

Thousands of Loyal Orders and spectators have gathered today for the annual Apprentice Boys’ Relief of Derry parade through the city centre.

The main Apprentice Boys Parade this afternoon saw people lining parents of the parade route, standing and sitting along the pavement on deck chairs, as the bands and marching Loyal Orders led by the Apprentice Boys of Derry made their way from the Waterside.

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

The ‘Relief of Derry’ commemorates the lifting of the 1689 Siege of Derry.

The Derry Irish Republican Prisoner Welfare Association meanwhile have staged a whiteline picket along Shipquay Street this afternoon.

The picket in the city centre focused on Internment and prisoner welfare issues.

An estimated 8,000 Apprentice Boys are taking part in the Relief of Derry commemoration, with 145 bands and thousands more people gathering throughout the day.

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

The main parade - the largest loyal orders gathering of its kind in the world- moved across Craigavon Bridge and through the upper city centre via Carlisle Road, Ferryquay Street, the Diamond, Bishop Street and the Fountain and then returning to the Waterside.

Earlier this morning a smaller procession walked the City Walls as part of the route, with a service at St Columb’s Cathedral and a wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in the Diamond.

Another parade in the city centre will take place early this evening.

There was a heavy police presence in the city centre this afternoon but the main event passed off peacefully, with much of the rest of the city centre beyond the parade route quieter than normal for a Saturday.

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

Meanwhile in there were community festivals taking place an Derry as part of the Gasyard Féile at Free Derry Corner this afternoon and the Hoolay On the Hill Family Fun Day is also taking place in Top Of the Hill area of the Waterside.

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade

Apprentice Boys of Derry Relief of Derry parade