Peaceful marching season predicted

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The Independent Online
The RUC's Chief Constable forecast that the loyalist marching season would not descend into last year's violence but would still present difficulties to the security forces, writes David McKittrick.

Ronnie Flanagan was speaking as the marching season gets formally under way this morning with a march in Belfast along the city's Ormeau Road. The area was a flashpoint last year but the marching organisation involved, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, has said it will not challenge any RUC move to stop it going through a Catholic area.

Fears of another "bad" marching season remain high in Northern Ireland, as no new mechanism is in place to regulate controversial parades.

In one precautionary measure the RUC is acquiring flame-proof overalls for its officers.

Mr Flanagan, speaking on Sky television, said: "I think there is a determination on the part of all right-thinking people that the events of last summer should not be repeated."