The Parades Commission has given its determination on the ‘Loyal Peaceful Protestors’ march on 30th November through Belfast city centre. The purpose of the parade is given on the application as ‘Human Rights Political Policing PSNI Brutality’ and the date is to coincide with anniversary of the designated days vote in Belfast city council (which is actually on the Tuesday after).
Having received an application to bring 10,000 marchers and 40 bands through the city centres main streets from 1 pm to 4 pm on the busiest Saturday for shopping in the year, the Commission has directed that the march in its entirety must be clear of City Hall by 12 pm and pass the Royal Avenue/North Street junction by 12.30 pm. Business leaders and the leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson, had asked the organisers to call the march off given the potential economic impact on the city centre. Previously, Mike Nesbitt, leader of the UUP had also asked the organisers to call the march off.
However, as the Parades Commission indicates, it only actually received submissions about the march from city centre businesses and retailers, as well as the leisure, hospitality and tourism industry, and, Sinn Féin. The Commission specifically expressed its disappointment that it had not received received any representations from unionist politicians (so much for the public criticisms of the march, then).
The last part of the determination (Appendix B), usefully gives ‘Guidance for Anyone Participating in Parades in the Vicinity of Senstive Locations’, (guidance that has largely been disregarded in the past):