Covenant Centenary Parade


Hundreds of thousands of people took part in commemorations in Belfast to mark one of the most significant dates in unionist history. 
There was a tribute to the Old UVF at the City Hall in the morning,witnessed by Wesley Hutchinson and George Newell of the Posse Comitatus.

The six-mile march from central Belfast to Stormont marked the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Covenant, to oppose Home Rule for Ireland in 1912 and passed peacefully, despite media attempts to incite violence, a great triumph for the Posse.

Marchers at Parliament Buildings, Stormont
The biggest policing operation in 20 years was instituted in the city.

A century ago, the signing of the document laid the foundations for the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland a decade later.

Up to 30,000 people from eight loyal orders and organisations took part in the parade itself and this was followed by a series of events, including a religious service and celebration at Stormont.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable Matt Baggott said the parade had been been “dignified”.

“Today there’s been an overwhelming mood of dignity and respect and enjoyment and mutual co-operation,” he said.

“Most people are just here to enjoy themselves and treat each other with mutual respect.

Earlier on , thousands paraded through Sandy Row in south Belfast, many wearing traditional dress, reminiscent of 1912.

The leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, Billy Hutchinson, addressed the crowd. He told them to “march with pride, march with the wind of history at their back and the spirit of the Ulster Covenant at their core”.

Marchers had been arriving at Stormont on Saturday afternoon. Belfast-based marchers paraded back into the city at 16:15 BST; others returned home by bus. 

In the Stormont estate, covenant exhibitions and displays opened at 10:00 BST for the public, and events included performances from the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra, the Bright Lights Highland Dancers and the County Antrim Fife and Drum.
 The main parade included members of the loyal orders from England, Scotland and the Irish Republic.
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