As July 13--the date of the Oranagemen's Parade--draw closer, Protestants throughout Belfast are preparing for three days of celebration.
As July 13--the date of the Oranagemen's Parade--draw closer, Protestants throughout Belfast are preparing for three days of celebration. Mindful of the fact that this weekend is also the first anniversary of the outbreak of the present troubles in ulster, british troops are taking up positions at possible trouble spots.
The occasion which prompts the celebrations has become somewhat obscured in the light of the recent troubles in Northern Ireland. It is, in fact, the 280th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in which King William of Orange defeated the Catholic army of King James.
Preparations for the weekend ahead have been going on for nearly a month. Many houses receive an annual coat of paint for the July 12th anniversary. Streets compete with each other to see which can provide the most red white and blue paint and bunting.
Unless moves going on to stop the parade are successful, festivities will begin on Saturday night with the lighting of hundreds of vast bonfires which have been built up over a period of weeks. The fire brigade expects to have a busy night.
Many landlords of public houses envisage problems when the early closing time -- 8 p.m. -- is announced on Saturday night.
Also taking precautions are more than 10,000 soldiers and policemen who will be on duty for the three days of the celebrations. Troops have begun taking up positions at strategic points to deal with any trouble that may arise.