CASTLEDERG, Northern Ireland, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A parade in Castlederg, Northern Ireland, commemorating republicans who died during the conflicts there passed Sunday without violence.
Several hundred republican supporters and bandsmen participated in the The Tyrone Volunteers Day Parade, but hundreds of protesters, including some IRA murder victims' family members, staged a counter-demonstration, the BBC reported.
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, spurred on by angry unionists and several leading politicians, had urged march organizers to call off the event, saying it was "causing great hurt" to victims of terrorism.
After 56 officers were injured Friday during a loyalist demonstration against the parade, a strong police presence was put in place ahead of parade time.
The Belfast Telegraph reported a loyalist victims' campaigner, David Kerrigan, said, "There is no use talking to them, they have set relations back in this town 20 years."
Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA, Gerry Kelly, said the Castlederg center was supposed to be a "shared space" and nearly 20 unionist marches had taken place there so far this year."Yet when a single republican commemoration parade is organized we are confronted with a deluge of orchestrated complaints," he said
"In effect we are being told that it is right for unionism to remember their British dead without interference but how dare republicans remember their Irish dead in the same way."
The Telegraph reported that organizers for a cruise ship, the Caribbean Princess, which was docked in the city Friday with approximately 3,100 passengers and 1,200 crew on board, changed travel arrangements to avoid any trouble for the visitors.