Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“The peaceful and dignified protest by the Orange Order is to be commended. In the face of provocation and a farcical Parades Commission decision the Orange Order were able to channel Unionist anger into a peaceful protest.
“The huge turnout today demonstrated the strength of feeling within the Unionist community. It is time the powers that be took note of Unionist concerns rather than seeking to dismiss them or demonise those who express them.
“The presence of many Orange marshals and the production of literature making the Order’s intentions clear to all those who attended the parade and protest was an initiative which should be praised by people across the community.
“It is important that the Parades Commission, which is responsible for the trouble of recent days, is abolished but there is no point removing the Commission only for it to be replaced by a body which merely has a different name. The Order rightly rejected the previous proposals put forward by the DUP and Sinn Fein. Any attempt to force identical or similar proposals on the Loyal Orders would be insulting.
“TUV has made it clear that when it comes to parades the statutory foundational principles should be:
• the primacy of the fundamental human right of freedom of peaceful assembly;
• presumption in favour of traditional routes and
• presumption in favour of parading on arterial routes, in pursuit of such being shared space.
“None of this was built into the cumbersome proposals previously put forward by the DUP and Sinn Fein which would have seen Martin McGuinness gifted a pivotal role in the process”.