Unionists walk out of N. Ireland talks, stoking unrest fears

Men of the Protestant fraternal organisation Orange Order are seen through a security barrier under police presence during the Apprentice Boys march in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on August 14, 2010Talks on maintaining peace in Northern Ireland collapsed on Thursday as unionist parties walked out to protest restrictions on an Orange Order parade, raising fears of disorder ahead of the peak of the summer marching season. Local press said the collapse cast doubt over the future of the Northern Ireland’s power-sharing administration, in which posts are split between republican and unionist ministers. The Democratic Unionist and Ulster Unionist parties walked out of the negotiations to protest a decision to prevent a 12 July Orange Order parade passing close to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood on its return route. The 12 July march is the peak of the traditional marching season, in which the unionist Orange Order marches with pipes, drums and banners to mark the anniversary of a 1690 victory by Protestant William of Orange over Catholic King James.

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