Anti-internment parade restricted from city centre

An anti-internment parade has been banned from going through Belfast city centre next weekend.

The Parades Commission said it had decided “it is necessary to restrict the route of the Anti-Internment League away from the city centre to Barrack Street”.

The organisation said the ruling follows disorder at last year’s parade, during which a number of police officers were injured when they came under attack as they blocked the march from entering the city centre

A statement from the commission said: “The deliberate breach of the timing condition, resulting in public disorder by the parade participants and/or supporters last year, has increased significantly the risks of the proposed parade this year as has the organiser’s refusal to engage with the commission."

It went on: "The commission has not received some essential information, specifically requested, about the proposed parade, including the dispersal plans at the City Hall.

“The commission has received no assurances about any aspect of the parade.

"The lack of assurances about the proposed parade raises serious concerns about the organiser’s genuine intention to hold a peaceful and lawful event this year.

"The commission has addressed in its decision the disproportionate, serious and prolonged impacts the parade had upon the human rights of others.

"It has reflected the adverse impacts of the parade upon community relations and community life, and the extremely high risks of public disorder."

The parade, which takes place on 7 August, marks the anniversary of internment in 1971.