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No violence so far in Orange Order parade in north Belfast

No violence so far in Orange Order parade in north Belfast

A flashpoint Orange Order parade in North Belfast has been peaceful so far.

A handful of loyal order members registered a complaint at a barrier preventing them from marching past the mainly nationalist Ardoyne area and held a silent protest but there were none of the usual supporters.

The area has been the scene of serious violence in recent years but the police presence was low key and a senior commander earlier said tensions had been lower this year.

Orangeman Gerald Solinas handed over a protest letter to an officer and claimed dissident republicans were "ruling" Belfast.

He said: "Nowhere in the rest of society would terrorism be acceptable."

A deal between Orangemen and nationalist residents fell through in recent days.

The parade dispersed at Woodvale without any trouble. Police moved in to dismantle the barriers.

Two Orange Order lodges which were expected to join the first did not make it.

While the vast majority of the 600 parades on the Twelfth of July are free of trouble each year, the threat of disorder at a small number of sectarian interfaces between Catholics and Protestants always has the potential to mar the day.

More than 3,000 police officers were on duty and there were contingency plans in place to call on support from other UK forces if required.