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Loyalists pull out of parades meeting with police

Orange Order Chaplin Mervyn Gibson takes part in a parade

A SENIOR Orange Order member has said there is "immense anger" in the run up to the marching season as members of the organisation met yesterday with the secretary of state.

The comments came as loyalists pulled out of talks with senior police officers aimed at ensuring a peaceful July, leading to fears that there could be unrest in the lead up to the Twelfth.

Leading loyalists had been due to hold a meeting with PSNI chief superintendent Nigel Grimshaw but withdrew from the process in protest at recent comments made by the Chief Constable George Hamilton in relation to loyalist paramilitary groups.

Orangemen have also said they will not take responsibility for helping to police interface parades at flashpoints including north and east Belfast this year as part of the growing unrest.

Rev Mervyn Gibson said following a meeting with Theresa Villiers there was no sign of any agreement before the Twelfth.

He said the Orange Order will now be asking unionist MPs to lobby they British government directly ahead of the main Tour of the North parade this weekend and July 12 demonstrations.

"Steps taken to ensure a peaceful July last year far from being recognised have been thrown back in people's faces", he said.

"Recent determinations by the Parades Commission have caused a great deal of anger.

"We would continue to call for any protests to be peaceful but people are angry at the way they have been treated, particularly by the secretary of state.

"We will now be asking our local MPs to bypass Theresa Villiers and lobby on our behalf directly with the British government," he added.

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