27/09/2002

Parades Commission upholds UVF parade decision

The Parades Commission has upheld its decision to allow an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) parade to pass through Belfast city centre this evening.

The parade celebrates the 90th anniversary of the formation of the original UVF, which was set up in 1912 by Sir Edward Carson in his opposition to Home Rule.

The event is being organised by a group called the Great War Historical and Cultural Society and will involve participants dressing up in period costume, vintage cars and floats reflecting the period.

The parade will start in the Upper Shankill before proceeding through the city centre to the Ulster Hall.

However, the parade has come under attack from the families of victims of UVF violence. Since the UVF was reformed in the 1960's, the organisation has been involved in paramilitary activity and hundreds of killings throughout Northern Ireland. The murder of Catholic barman Peter Ward by UVF founding father Gusty Spence in 1966 caused a wave of revulsion and catapulted the organisation into the spotlight. The Stormont Prime Minister of the time, Terence O'Neill, proscribed the UVF a few months later. The organisation issued a "sincere apology" to its victims through Gusty Spence and declared a ceasefire in 1994.

The relatives of UVF victims met with the Parades Commission on Thursday evening in their condemnation of the march saying it would glorify terrorism.

A number of local politicians are to take part in the march including PUP leader David Ervine.

(MB)

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