Loyalist protest camp dismantled following return parade in Ardoyne

The loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast is being dismantled after a return Orange Order parade took place on Saturday morning.

The camp has been in place since the return leg of a Twelfth Orange parade was banned in 2013 by the Parades Commission from passing the nationalist Ardoyne shop fronts section of the Crumlin Road.

However, an agreement was reached last week between the Orange Order and nationalist residents' group CARA that would see the Orangemen complete their march to their Ligoniel Lodge, with no future applications for the return leg to be made until a wider agreement on the issue is reached.

In return Cara will not protest at the lodges' already permitted outward parade on the morning of the Twelfth.

It was agreed that bands would only play hymns as marchers pass the disputed section at Ardoyne while the lodges would limit the number of banners on display. Immediately afterwards Camp Twaddell would be taken down.

The Parades Commission - a Government-appointed adjudication body - ruled Orangemen from three lodges could march along the contested stretch of Crumlin Road under strict conditions from 8.30am.

“More than 600 police officers are on duty this morning on the section of the Crumlin Road, along which the Orange Order made their return journey after a protest of more than three years,” Sarah Clarke reported from the scene of the parade.

“It’s after what has been hailed as historic local agreement. But not everyone was happy, the Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective, formed a small protest behind barricades at the shop fronts.

“There was some shouting of ‘walk of shame’ as the parade passed by on its way back to Ligoniel.”

The three-year stand-off between the loyal orders and nationalist residents has cost over £21million to police.

A local community forum including representatives of Cara and the loyal orders will be convened with the aim of improving community relations in the area.

GARC – who are against any resolution involving a parade - marched in Ardoyne against the deal on Friday night.