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3 July 1997 Edition

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Nationalists on edge

Nationalist residents of Bellaghy were forced to endure the blockage of their town on Tuesday by a huge force of RUC drafted into the Co Derry village to facilitate an Orange march to an Orange Hall. Earlier the RUC had told the residents group that they would be acting illegally if they tried to protest against Tuesday night's Orange march.

Also angry were nationalists in the Fermanagh town of Newtownbutler. A meeting on Tuesday evening ended in no agreement being struck over plans by the Orange Order to march this coming Sunday evening. Further meetings between the residents are scheduled for this week to discuss another march by the Black Preceptory later this summer.

Sinn Féin councillors across the north are documenting many cases of Orange Order marches aimed at causing as much disruption to local life as possible.

An example of this are councillors Cathal Quinn and Kevin McGrade who have logged for independent monitoring of the Twelth parade in the Tyrone town of Dromore following accusations that the spirit of an agreement brokered between local Orangemen and residents has been broken.

Witnesses have reported to them that elements of the Orange Order opposed to any compromise over the Twelfth route acted in a provocative manner during a march on Thursday 26 June when Orange bands marched up the contentious Church Street route. It is mainly nationalist and trouble broke out last year leading to an agreement being hammered out to avoid a repetition. Following last weeks parade local people view the parade as a violation of the spirit of that agreement.

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An Phoblacht
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