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Drumcree march ends peacefully

July 6, 2003 at 7:27 PM

PORTADOWN, Ireland, July 6 (UPI) -- Thousands of police and troops kept Protestants and Catholics apart Sunday during the most emotionally-charged parade of Northern Ireland's marching season.

Hundreds of Protestants in their traditional bowler hats and orange sashes made the annual trek to the Drumcree Anglican Church in rural Portadown, Voice of America reported.

The Orangemen, as they are called, organize hundreds of marches during the summer to celebrate the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over the deposed Catholic monarch James II in 1690.

The Drumcree march has been the most volitile because the route used to take the marchers through a staunchly Catholic neighborhood.

However, troops for the sixth consecutive year erected barriers to re-route them away from the area.

Instead of trying to push through the barrier like last year, the marchers simply handed police a letter of protest and went home, VOA reported.

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