updating the situation in Derry, with audio and video links to the violence on the Lower Ormeau in Belfast earlier. K.M.
Apprentice Boys march continues in Derry Saturday, August 14 1999 Filed at: 04:16 PM
Thousands of Apprentice Boys are continuing on their main parade through Derry City centre. There have been sporadic clashes between nationalist youths and the RUC in the Waterloo Square area of the city, where a petrol bomb and other missiles were thrown at the police. However, the parade proceeded without incident through the Diamond area - a flashpoint in previous years. Earlier in Derry Nationalists who were prevented from demonstrating at the Diamond gathered in Waterloo place, several streets away. There was a tense stand-off with dozens of RUC riot police preventing any access to Guildhall Square. The majority of the residents then left for a rally at Bogsides 'Free Derry' corner during which bottles and other missiles were thrown at police. The SDLP Mayor of Derry, Pat Doherty, appealed for a peaceful day and held last minute talks with Bogside Residents Groups.
The tension in Derry follows violent clashes in Belfast this morning between police and nationalist protestors. The RUC say that 19 police officers and a number of protesters were injured when security forces moved in to stop the demonstrators blocking the Ormeau Road. At least two people were taken to hospital after some of the crowd resisted the RUC's efforts to remove them. The police were enforcing a ruling by the Parades Commission allowing the Apprentice Boys to hold a feeder march along the road. The march itself later passed off without any major incident. There was also trouble in Lurgan, where security forces were attacked by a group of about 75 people early this morning. The crowd threw stones, bottles, paint bombs and other missiles. A number of arrests were made after the incident, which happened at the junction of Willian Street and Victoria Street.
Follwowing the Ormeau Road disturbances, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, said that he was deeply disturbed by the violent scenes on the Ormeau Road. Mr Andrews said the scenes were particularly unfortunate because the indications were that the Ormeau residents intended a peaceful protest only. The Fine Gael leader John Bruton has called for a report to be prepared on the policing of the Parades Commission's decisions and residents concerns about it.
There are fears that further violent clashes will overshadow the special services this weekend to commemorate the first anniversary of the Omagh bombing on Sunday. The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Liz O'Donnell, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dr Mo Mowlam, are due to attend a memorial service in Omagh. Later today, the Taoiseach will also attend a memorial service in Dublin's Pro Cathedral. In Buncrana, where three of the Omagh victims lived, there will be a special vigil for peace tonight.