Changes to parade and protest

The Army has announced a number of changes to the Belfast Homecoming parade – there will be no fly-past, no weapons carried and a special order been issued to those participating in the Belfast and other homecoming parades. UPDATE More links here. UPDATE 2 Changes to the protest plan. It will now leave from Dunville Park in west Belfast not a city centre venue and proceed along the Grosvenor road until it reaches Fisherwick Place (ie Jury’s hotel). This reduces many of the potential issues within the city centre itself. Certainly shows more practical sense than the Parades Commission proposals.

  • autocue

    Disappointing that the MoD should have given ground to neanderthal bigots in Sinn Fein. Still, I suppose sh*tting all over rank and file soldiers is a fine old British tradition. The only honourable course open to Sinn Fein now is to call off their protest.

    Incidentally, I thought it was nice to hear TUV councillor Charlie Tosh attacking a military wife on Nolan this morning. Nice.

  • The cancellation of the ‘fly past’ is entirely correct. It should never have been included. It would have automatically extended the area affected by this show to a far larger part of Belfast than that permitted by the Parades Commission.

    Good to see that someone amongst the decision-makers has a bit of sense.

  • autocue

    Horseman

    When last I checked, the writ of the Parades Commission didn’t extend to the skies.

  • fair_deal

    “Closing comments as FD got in first but leaving the blog as it has additional links.”

    Thanks MM

  • autocue,

    When last I checked, the writ of the Parades Commission didn’t extend to the skies.

    I’m sure you’re right. Nonetheless, an air display ‘in support’ of the march is certainly bending the rules a bit. Lots of things are probably not covered by the PC – waterways, maybe. Inventive demonstrators can thus easily bypass the PC – it would be ‘clever’ but not very useful or constructive.

  • Steve

    So I guess we can see which undefeated army blinked first

  • Shore Road Resident

    Oh dear Steve. You really have to wonder at how empty someone’s life is to be so consumed with spite and hatred and have so much time to participate in an argument 4,000 miles away.

  • Steve

    yes you do srr and I am thinking its 5,000 miles but you don’t seem good at geography

    You also have to wonder at how empty someone’s life is to be so consumed with spite and hatred that they survive on triumphalism around a 400 year old battle

    I don’t hate the british some of my best ancestors were british

    By the way my boss is very understanding about the time I spend here, I am good to me that way

  • Shore Road Resident

    If you’re 5,000 miles away then it must be 7am where you are. In fact, you must have been up posting here since nearer 6am.
    You’re keen.

  • Steve

    I work for a living

    I start at 530 am and finish at 630 pm at least till winter when the construction season tends to close down

    Frost is a real bitch not that you would understand that. I laughed like hell the January I was standing outside the Belfast City Airport enjoying the beautiful weather while the locals were all huddled together freezing

    I even gave up my place in the taxi que to get a little more fresh air

  • This is useful, as it is the home coming side who are being seen to accomodate the circumstances i.e. no tunes, no fly by, no guns – this will be a useful argument should the protestors misbehave.

  • Mark McGregor

    I see SF have a hastily arranged press conference currently in progress. I wonder if they are about to break after the MoD buckled?

  • Dec

    see SF have a hastily arranged press conference currently in progress. I wonder if they are about to break after the MoD buckled?

    Presumably there’s been some chatting in the background.

  • autocue

    McGregor

    The MoD did not buckle. The dissident scum and the Shinners made clear that they didn’t want any troops parading in the streets. Have they achieved that? No they have not. All that has happened here is that the GOC showed just how eminently more reasonable the Army has been about this whole event than you and your fellow anti-parade mob.

  • Mark McGregor

    SF have decided to move their ‘protest’ to Fisherwick Place.

  • Steve

    autoclue

    nice try

  • Gerry Kelly – I think that our protest against imperialist military wars should be abandoned and replaced with the protesters intending on goin to our protest to instead go along to the home coming parade of Irish service men returning from battle against the forces of evil in the Afghan state
    So i call on all Nationalists to keep their reservations to themselves and to go to the parade and honour Members of the Armed Service from ireland

  • Gerry Kelly – I think that our protest against imperialist military wars should be abandoned and replaced with the protesters intending on goin to our protest to instead go along to the home coming parade of Irish service men returning from battle against the forces of evil in the Afghan state
    So i call on all Nationalists to keep their reservations to themselves and to go to the parade and honour Members of the Armed Service from ireland

  • Yes that’s right ^
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  • autocue

    I don’t need to try. The fact is that that Sinn Fein and the Mr. McGregors of this world wanted nothing taking place at all.

    They swore blind they would oppose any British troops on the streets of Belfast (except of course when they happen to be defusing bombs outside schools in Poleglass). The Army GOC has succesfully manouvered them into a position where they had to move their protest.

    The really sad thing is that this will have serious and lasting consequences for community relations. There was nothing at all to prevent Sinn Fein from simply turning a blind eye and letting this go ahead, much in the way Unionists have over the last few years regarding St. Patrick’s Day. Instead they have soured relations throughout Belfast by their actions.

    Basic courtesy and respect would have prevented what we have seen over the last ten days.

  • picador

    I welcome this belated attempt to take some of the heat out of the situation and the reciprocal moves by Sinn Féin. I would now hope that the pro-military demos being organised by loyalists are called off – if not they should be banned.

    It’s interesting to see some of the early unionist reaction to this move. They are to a man sore that the MoD have toned down their parade – a bunch of bloodthirsty maniacs who prefer to have others do their fighting for them.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Regarding the dropped fly past, and I know the context is very different, but we had the RAF Red Arrows at the Galway Air Show earlier this year. They did their whole routine complete with the red, white and blue vapour trails across the sky!

    There was no furore either, folk enjoyed it!

  • catchagrip

    I wonder if the order for SF to move their protest came from the MOD or HMG. At least they’re learning to do things the British way.

  • Driftwood

    2 RAF Tornadoes flew over the docks 2 weeks ago and low over Cave hill, obviously on a routine training flight. Quite a number of Belfast residents couldn’t have missed the noise at least. So context is all. Even superfluous gestures can take the heat out of a situation. Our politicians could learn a lot from Major General Brown, who even hardline republicans must now have respect for.

  • Steve

    autoclue

    A blind eye to St. Patricks day?

    That why they have policemen stopping everything even remotely tri-coloured?

    Some blind eye

    Catch a clue why not

  • heck

    did anyone seriously believe that this would not cause trouble.

    it is provocative and there was no need to have it at all. It seems to me that SF are acting in a more reasonable fashion than the brits.

    as to the tornado’s flying over belfast –were the SAM7’s decommisioned?

  • Driftwood

    heck
    If you think a SAM 7 will take down a Tornado, well, maybe the Taleban could do with your expert knowledge. Their mindset, like yours, seems set in that era.
    SF and Al Queda, apart from having bearded leaders, seem to be very similar in anti-progress points of view, but no-one actually knows what they are for.

  • ulsterfan

    Belfast has indeed changed. At one time SF/IRA were opposed to the British Army and involved in a military campaign.
    They have brought their people so far that they now sit down with MOD to discuss what music is to be played and are then told where to stand and to make a peaceful protest about the war in Iraq.
    There is no demand for troops out.
    Hundreds of soldiers ( unarmed ) can walk past the City Hall to rapturous applause from Belfast citizens.
    Belfast indeed is getting more and more like Finchley.
    With GFA and St Andrews agreement Sf have really accepted the legitimacy of the British Army in NI.

  • cynci

    Not so much the MoD buckling here as SF running. It is clear there are now deeply worried about what they have set in motion and are trying to push it away from the parade to reduce the risk of conflcit …or more accurately reduce the risk of them getting the blame.

    However belated, they should be congratulated for that …. but it was stupid to start this in the first place. I ask again…where is the strategy? Where is the leadership? Where has SF left its brain these days?

    No wonder that, on the news tonight, Gerry Kelly looked sombre and IPJ was grinning like a Cheshire Cat as he twisted the knife in them and the parades Commission.