Trimble defiant on marches

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The Independent Online
The Drumcree Orangemen must be allowed to march down Portadown's Catholic Garvaghy Road next July, the Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has insisted.

"Garvaghy Road is the main thoroughfare," he said. "There is a duty on the authorities to make sure the Queen's highway is available to all."

It was the tense stand-off between police and the Orange Order outside Drumcree Parish Church, forcing the RUC to back down under threat of violence and allow last summer's parade, which plunged Northern Ireland into deep crisis as nationalists took to the streets in protest.

Security chiefs and politicians on all sides fear even worse disorder if agreement is not reached between the marchers and opposing residents before the 190th year of the Drumcree march on 6 July.

Mr Trimble, MP for Upper Bann, said the Portadown lodges did not want a repeat of last year's trouble, but he claimed their opponents belonged to a self-appointed group associated with the republican movement.

In an interview last month with the Irish-American Post magazine, he asked: "Do you give way to the threats of violence from a minority linked to a terrorist movement?"

Mr Trimble claimed the residents wanted to inhibit the actions of people who had demonstrated a willingness to compromise. "But they have to deal with people not prepared to compromise and who insist their land is going to be cleansed of Orangemen."