Issue 4-2022 small

3 September 1998 Edition

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Orange `ribbon of hate' campaign

Five hundred people attended an Orange rally in Antrim town on Wednesday night, 26 August, to show support for the campaign of intimidation of nationalists in the Garvaghy estate in Portadown.

The gathering was addressed by former Orange Grand Master, Martin Smyth, MP, who declared his opposition to prisoner releases, and by David Jones of the Portadown Orangemen who vowed to maintain a presence at Drumcree until the Order were allowed down the Garvaghy Road. An orange ribbon campaign was launched at the rally to show support for the ongoing harassment of the Garvaghy residents.

Privately, Orange leaders have said that the tense situation in Drumcree could easily erupt into serious violence in the next few weeks.

In their latest attempt to march along Garvaghy Road on Sunday 30 August over 250 Orangemen were prevented from parading through the nationalist estate.

The Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition has accused the Orange Order of a ``concerted and organised campaign of intimidation,'' in response to the nightly gathering of loyalists near their estate. In the latest incident on Monday 24 August a loyalist mob and a band attempted to march down the road. A spokesperson added that the bands and loyalists gather from 9pm through to 2.30am playing the ``Sash' and shouting ``We'll burn you out, you fenian bastards'' and ``Back into your cages'' at the residents. The coalition also confirmed that the RUC and British government are playing down the tense situation in Portadown.

In a letter to Church of Ireland Primate, Robin Eames, the residents group has voiced concern at the ``weekly misuse'' of the Sunday service at Drumcree by the Orange Order.

However, in-fighting is continuing within the Orange Order after a questionnaire was sent out to all members last week by the Grand Lodge attempting to canvass support for the Drumcree stand-off. Orangemen in Tyrone and Fermanagh are strongly opposed to the action of the Portadown lodge. One Tyrone Orangeman has been reported as saying, ``there is now deep division within the Orange Order and this is played out along pro and anti-agreement lines.''

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