Northern Ireland Unionists March in 'Twelfth of July' Parades

Northern Ireland’s annual Twelfth of July festival saw unionists parading in Greyabbey, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday.

This footage shows marching bands and members of the Orange Order, a fraternal organization founded in 1795 to defend unionism in the region, parading through the streets of Greyabbey, a village in Northern Ireland, as residents watch from the sidewalks.

The Ulster Protestant festival is held to commemorate the victory of King William of Orange in 1690 over James II, the deposed Catholic king of England and Ireland.

Traditionally, the marches pass through predominately Catholic areas, with participants beating drums and playing whistles, and sometimes leading to tense or violent confrontations.

Critics accuse the Orange Order of provoking conflict and seeking to promote Protestant supremacy over Catholic communities. Members of the Orange Order, often called Orangemen, reject such criticisms, instead arguing that the festival is an expression of the culture and traditions of Northern Ireland’s Protestant community.

The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, welcomed the return of the parades as a “tremendous success,” after pandemic restrictions forced their cancellation in the previous two years.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the festival was among the “safest and most peaceful 12th July events in recent memory.” Credit: @LavertySharon via Storyful

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