Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Marching Season

The Marching Season is underway. There were disturbances in North Belfast last night as the Orange Order's annual 'Tour of the North' parade made its way through the Peter's Hill end of the Nationalist Carrickhill. After several breaches of the Parades Commission determination by numerous bands, a small number of nationalist youths tried to run through the bands as they made their way up Peter's Hill. A confrontation ensued and led to Loyalists attacking Nationalist homes. The events of last night are not uncommon in the North. The blame lies solely with the Orange Order.

The Orange Order proclaims to be a cultural organisation defending religious and civil liberties which celebrates Protestant King William of Orange's victory at the Battle of the Boyne over the Catholic James II in 1690.

In reality the Orange Order is a supremacist, bigoted, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, sectarian organisation that engage in hate filled, triumphalist, coat-trailing marches through Catholic neighbourhoods each and every summer.

It is an organisation in which Catholics are forbidden from joining. Protestants who are married to Catholics are also banned. Members are prohibited from attending Catholic religious ceremonies, indeed many have been expelled from doing so. The rules basically prevent members mixing with those of a different faith.

With tensions still rife following months of volatile anti-democracy protests against the removal of the Union Jack from Belfast City Hall, a summer of discontent and violence looks on the horizon.

Contentious Orange Order marches need to be banned. Yes, people have the right to march and freedom of assembly, but not when the assembly leads to violence and mayhem on the streets and when doing so is to deny Nationalists and Catholics their basic human rights. In a modern inclusive society contentious Orange Order marches should not be tolerated. A Ku Kluk Klan march through Harlem would not be accepted and neither should an Orange Order march through any Catholic areas.

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