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Apprentice Boys: ‘No emblem deal’ ahead of march

Apprentice Boys: ‘No emblem deal’ ahead of march

Image caption The police flanked members of Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne during Saturday’s parade The governor of the Apprentice Boys has denied there was an agreement over the display of controversial emblems prior to a parade in Londonderry. Members of Clyde Valley Flute Band from Larne wore Parachute Regiment insignia with the letter ‘F’

The police flanked members of Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne during Saturday's parade

Image caption

The police flanked members of Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne during Saturday’s parade

The governor of the Apprentice Boys has denied there was an agreement over the display of controversial emblems prior to a parade in Londonderry.

Members of Clyde Valley Flute Band from Larne wore Parachute Regiment insignia with the letter ‘F’ on their shirts during Saturday’s parade.

Police said an agreement had been put in place before the march, and officers flanked the band during the parade.

But governor Graeme Stenhouse said he has no knowledge of such an agreement.

Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

An ex-paratrooper, known as Soldier F, is facing prosecution for two murders.

Mr Stenhouse said in meetings ahead of Saturday’s march the association was not “asked to give any assurances as far as I can remember”.

“And we certainly wouldn’t have given any,” he said.

Image caption

Members of the Apprentice Boys, one of the Protestant Loyal Orders, make their way around the city’s historic walls accompanied by bands

PSNI Supt Gordon McAlmont told BBC Radio Foyle on Monday an agreement had been reached on contentious symbols before Saturday’s parade.

But Mr Stenhouse added: “We had a meeting with senior PSNI officers from Strand Road and there was no agreement made by us.

“Well, having spoken to fellow senior officers, they are unaware of any agreement being made at any meetings.”

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Media captionApprentice Boys: Police parade approach ‘kept people safe’

On Saturday, PSNI officers escorted Clyde Valley Flute Band during the parade and their bus was later stopped by police.

The Apprentice Boys described the police’s actions as “heavy handed”.

But Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said the response was “proportionate, responsible and constructive”.

The Parades Commission said it had received a number of complaints regarding the Apprentice Boys parade.

Image caption

Members of Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne wore the symbol with the letter ‘F’ on their shirts

Clydevalley Flute Band said that the symbol on their shirts was an expression of “a legitimately held view which they are entitled to hold”.

“The officers of the band wish to correct any false impression which may be held regarding the band’s uniform being deliberately provocative and specifically designed for the parade in Londonderry,” the band said in a statement.

Mr Stenhouse said he would be willing to meet the Bloody Sunday families and other community representatives.

“I’m more than willing to meet them if that’s something that they wish to do,” he said.

Image caption

Governor of the Apprentice Boys, Graeme Stenhouse, lays a wreath at the cenotaph in Derry on Saturday

“What the Apprentice Boys have achieved over the last 20 years is taking things forward by talking to different communities.

“That’s why we do have very successful parades now in the Maiden City. We’ll discuss with other community representatives and if there’s some hard, straight talking to be done then that’s something that we’ll have to do.”

Meanwhile, a number of petrol bombs have been thrown towards police during disorder in Londonderry.

It was the third consecutive night police have been attacked in the city.



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