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Orange Order defiant over right to march in cities

Orange Order grand secretary, Eddie Hyde, rejected suggestions parades were provocative. Picture: TSPL

Orange Order grand secretary, Eddie Hyde, rejected suggestions parades were provocative. Picture: TSPL

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

The Orange Order has defended its right to hold controversial large parades in Scottish cities in the run-up to the independence referendum.

Leaders of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland have faced criticism after a 12-year-old girl was injured in a disturbance during a parade in Glasgow at the weekend, when 18 people were arrested.

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But its grand secretary, Eddie Hyde, rejected suggestions the parades were provocative and claimed sectarianism was a “myth” and that it “doesn’t exist” in Scotland.

He insisted the Grand Orange Lodge was a “democratic, law-abiding organisation” that “respects everyone’s faith” and had a democratic right to “celebrate and promote our Protestant culture”.

The parade in Glasgow on Saturday was attended by 4,500 marchers and 4,000 spectators as the order celebrated the Battle of the Boyne anniversary.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland has registered as an official backer of the No campaign ahead of the referendum on 18 September.

It plans to hold a British Together rally in Edinburgh five days before the vote.

Better Together, the official pro-UK campaign, has tried to distance itself from the Orange Order. A spokesman said it “isn’t part of our campaign and never will be”.

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