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More than 1,500 people within 24 hours sign petition opposing Inverness march by the Apprentice Boys of Derry

By Alasdair Fraser

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A previous march through Inverness by the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
A previous march through Inverness by the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

A petition opposing a parade by the Apprentice Boys of Derry in Inverness later this month has gathered more than 1,500 signatures within 24 hours.

The Northern Ireland headquartered Protestant fraternal society’s Inverness group has been given Highland Council permission to march through the city on Saturday, April 20.

An estimated 300 people will take part in the event, organised by the City of Inverness Campsie Club, who are associated members of the broader organisation.

The group has marched in the Highland capital for the past 15 years, but the announcement of this year’s event stoked controversy online with many expressing opposition to what they view as a sectarian ‘hate march’.


Apprentice Boys of Derry march in Inverness provokes criticism of Highland Council

UPDATE: Northern Ireland headquartered Protestant fraternal society the Apprentice Boys of Derry defend right to stage a Highland Council sanctioned march through Inverness

The council has notified the public of temporary road closures on the day, between 2.45 pm and 4.30 pm, through streets including Victoria Drive, Crown Drive, Crown Road, Eastgate, High Street, Bridge Street, Castle Road, Ness Bank and Cavell Gardens beside Haugh Road.

The petition was started on Thursday evening by an Alasdair Marshall.

He wrote: “As a Highland resident deeply concerned about the peace and harmony in our community, I am alarmed by the upcoming march planned by The Apprentice Boys of Derry through our tranquil streets of Inverness.

“This group's traditions, music, marches and practices are deeply rooted in sectarianism.

“Not only would this event - with its expected 300 marchers - severely disrupt daily activities and cause significant traffic congestion, but it also risks poisoning our peaceful environment.

“The Apprentice Boys Derry, along with the Orange Order, are organisations with a history of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish hostility.

“We have seen too often elsewhere how Orange Order parades foment a threatening atmosphere, which can spill over into violence and abuse. This intimidatory practice cannot be justified on the grounds of freedom of expression.

“Our Highland Council has always been committed to promoting peace, unity and respect among all residents regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. It is therefore crucial that we prevent any event that could potentially incite hostility or division among us.

“We must stand together to protect our community from any form of disruption or potential harm.

“Let us urge Highland Council to reconsider allowing this parade to take place within our peaceful city limits. Please sign this petition today to help maintain peace in Inverness.”

The Apprentice Boys of Derry has defended its right to march, with general secretary William Moore saying: “The people who describe the parade as a hate march really need to reflect on their own level of respect for other cultures and traditions.

“The parade is simply members of the association commemorating and celebrating their history and culture.”

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