A 500-strong loyalist parade taking place this week, and historically the most contentious in the area, will not be accepted in Newtownbutler, according to NARA (Newtownbutler Area Residents Association).
The Newtownbutler Border Defenders parade takes place on Friday night, the Parades Commission has indicated a 500-strong attendenace and 15 – 20 bands, and NARA have called for residents to ‘stand up and be counted’.
A spokesman for the group described how recent years have shown a ‘significant move by all the community to acknowledge and accept the different cultures in the area’, however he described the parade on Friday, Newtownbutler Border Defenders, as one that ‘will not be accepted by the residents of Newtownbutler’.
“The Border defenders band continues to invite, yet again this year, 15 to 20 bands and supporters from all over the North to take part in an unwanted sectarian parade in our village, without any engagement with, or respect for the Nationalist residents,” he said.
“We may have a majority presence in the town but quite clearly continue to have a minority voice.
“On behalf of the Newtownbutler Residents Committee we call on all nationalist residents to stand up and be counted and to ensure your attendance at the upcoming peaceful protest on Friday evening the July 5 at 8.30pm. We ask all who want to join the protest to assemble outside St Mary’s Parish Hall at the bottom of Main Street Newtownbutler at 8pm.”
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that the police want to ‘ensure that this event passes off safely and in a manner that enables everyone involved to avail of their rights, be that to parade or to protest’.
He added: “Our desire is to protect and uphold the human rights of all involved – those at the parade; those involved in the protest; and all of the people who live and work in Newtownbutler.”
Chief Inspector Sue Steen said: “I appeal to those taking part in the parade or the associated protest to respect each other’s points of view. If you choose to avail of your rights and to attend, please deliver on your responsibilities in respect of such a right and remain peaceful and lawful.”
The Fermanagh Herald attempted to contact a member of the Newtownbutler Border Defenders, however, was unsuccessful.
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