Dickson says march organisers must abide by Parades Commission ruling

Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson has said organisers of a republican parade set to take place in Belfast city centre this weekend must abide by a Parades Commission ruling in relation to it.

The march, organised by the Anti-Internment League, was given permission to take place on Sunday (August 9), however the determination states it must have left the city centre no later than 1.30pm. But the League has said via social media it intends on ignoring the ruling and marching past Royal Avenue at 2.30pm. Five thousand participants and supporters are expected to take part, with loyalist protesters staging a demonstration at the location.

Mr Dickson said the Parades Commission’s determination must be upheld.

“Everyone has the right to celebrate their culture in a peaceful and respectful way but the Parades Commission is recognised by law as the only body who can decide on whether a march takes place and if restrictions should be in place. Therefore it is essential their ruling must be upheld, as anyone who breaks it is breaking the law.

“In 2013, a similar parade in Belfast led to violence, with more than 50 police officers injured. Nobody wants to see those scenes again. I would appeal to the organisers to follow the restrictions in place and protesters to remain peaceful, to ensure the chances of a repeat are reduced.

“By openly defying the authorised time of the parade, the organisers are potentially disrupting traders’ business and raising tension on a busy shopping day. I call on them to see sense and move the commencement of their parade back to the preferred start time.”

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