“I welcome the repeated pleas from the Orange Order and politicians from all sides for all parades and protests to be peaceful and lawful.” View gallery Police escort an Orange Order parade past the nationalist Ardoyne area of North Belfast, in Northern The July 12 parade marks the victory of Protestant king William III of Orange over the deposed Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The march is the peak of the traditional marching season, in which the unionist Orange Order marches with pipes, drums and banners to mark the anniversary. It is a flashpoint for tensions between the Protestant and Catholic communities in the province, which was devastated by three decades of sectarian violence in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The 1998 Good Friday peace accords largely brought an end to the unrest, known as The Troubles, although sporadic violence and bomb threats continue. There were fears of more violence this year after unionist parties last week walked out of talks in protest at restrictions placed on the parade. View gallery Police stand guard as Protestant Orangemen march in North Belfast, in Northern Ireland, on July 12, The Parade Commission ruled that the evening part of the march should not return by the Ardoyne, saying it risked damaging community relations and causing public disorder. Unionist lawmaker Nigel Dodds commended Orange leaders for keeping the peace. “The Orange institution, community leaders and political representatives have worked tirelessly and unitedly to create the context for tonight’s successful conclusion,” he said.
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