Former leader of the DUP Arlene Forster lashed out at the BBC’s lack of coverage of this year’s Twelfth of July parades Northern Ireland. The Twelve is an annual event held by Ulster Protestants to commemorate King William of Orange’s victory over the deposed Catholic monarch James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Watching the parades in Armagh, Ms Forster was struck by the lack of BBC coverage of this year’s marches.
Ms Forster told GB News: “It’s very important to cover this holiday today.
“Usually the BBC covers it live, but this year they decided not to.
“So GB News stepped into the loophole.”
It comes as hundreds of Orange Order parades, accompanied by loyalist marching bands, take place in cities, towns and villages across Northern Ireland.
In Belfast, Orange Order District Grand Master Spencer Beattie said around 10,000 members of the order, bandsmen and women would take part in the capital.
“In 2020, we were canceled due to Covid, so for the first time we are back on the street in our full parade,” he told the PA news agency.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve had various smaller parades that have gone down due to Covid, but it’s great to be back in full swing. Hopefully the day will be a celebration for everyone who gets back out and enjoys the day.”
The parade in Belfast is one of the longest routes, passing through the city from Clifton Street, laying wreaths to the cenotaph at City Hall and on to the demonstration field at Barnet Demesne.
“It’s just wonderful to have everyone back again. You could tell by the number of bonfires last night that everyone is getting back into the Twelfth of July spirit,” Mr Beattie said.
“It is immeasurable how many spectators you have on the side of the road; that’s where you see the tourist part, in the center of town.
“People are just happy to return to the traditional holiday of July 12. We understood the reasons why we had to cut back on the parade — in 2020 we had to keep people at home — last year we cut back and spread out across town. to reduce the crowd.
“But now we’ve got the parade back in full force, people are coming out with smiles and enjoying themselves.”
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Around 250 bonfires were lit in loyalist communities across the region on Monday night to mark a key date in the parade calendar.
Police said they were gathering evidence after complaints about election posters and stuffed animals being placed on bonfires.
The routes of some Orange parades became points of intense friction during the Troubles, often leading to riots and violence.
Disputes usually centered on whether Orange lodges should have the right to parade in nationalist areas.