The Apprentice Boys parade passed off without major incident in Derry at the weekend but one local councillor said it was marred by a band who wore a “provocative” parachute regiment badge in support of soldier F.
The Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne received a police escort for the main parade, however, it was prevented from taking part in the return leg. Their bus was also stopped by the PSNI on the way home.
A PSNI spokesperson said: "We are investigating the behaviour and symbols displayed by one band, following today’s Apprentice Boys Parade in Derry.
"Five people were arrested on suspicion of public disorder offences. We’ll work with the event organisers to examine the issues from today’s parade."
Thousands of people took to the streets for the annual Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry parade.
Ahead of the parade banners were erected in the Fountain and in the Waterside in support of British soldiers.
It is one of Northern Ireland's biggest parades and marks the anniversary of the ending of the Siege of Derry in August 1689 and the retreat of the Jacobite army.
Before the main procession, the Parent Clubs parade the circuit of the walls to commemorate the 10,000 defenders that perished during the 105 day siege.
A floral tribute is placed at the Cenotaph in memory of members that died in recent conflicts and a thanksgiving service is attended in St. Columb’s Cathedral, to give thanks to God for the deliverance of the city.
During the main parade, members of the dissident Republican group, Saoradh, staged a protest on the roof of Foyleside Shopping centre where members held a banner aloft reading: “NO SECTARIAN PARADES”.
At 2pm members of Saoradh and the Derry Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association then held a protest on Shipquay Street where a young man climbed a ladder to erect the same anti-parades banner.
Around twenty police officers blocked the Republican group from progressing up the street to avoid a confrontation with marchers who continued to stream through the Diamond in their thousands.
The Republican grouping held Éistigí flags and Irish tricolours aloft, allowing them to blow into the faces of police officers.
At one point a couple of drunken spectators from the march stumbled down Shipquay Street and had to be quickly intercepted by police – heckles could be heard as they were led away.
A bakery on the street brought its shutters down and had to close early due to fears of violence breaking out.
However, the demonstration remained largely peaceful aside from a few verbal exchanges between protestors and police officers.
When the bands returned to the city centre around 5.30pm a fight almost broke out at the Diamond between young people cheering on the marchers and two youths wearing Celtic tops. Police officers got between them just in time.
The Clyde Valley Flute Band from Larne, who wore a Parachute Regiment emblem, received a police escort around the route of to prevent a breach of the peace.
Afterwards, Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson called on parade organisers and the PSNI to explain why they failed to remove a band wearing provocative symbols.
Cllr Christopher Jackson said: “It’s unacceptable that a flute band bearing symbols relating to Soldier F were allowed to march in today’s Apprentice Boy’s Parade in Derry.
“The PSNI and the organisers must explain why, after giving an assurance that no provocative symbols would not be tolerated, this band were allowed to march on the parade.
“This is a deliberate attempt to stir up tension and to hurt the families of the Bloody Sunday victims.
“Sinn Féin will be raising this incident with the Parades Commission and the police to ensure it does not happen again.”
Meanwhile, DUP MLA Gary Middleton said "serious questions" needed to be asked over the policing operation.
"I have already spoken with the PSNI at a senior level and expressed my concerns at their actions today which have caused a huge amount of anger and ill will towards the PSNI.
"The heavy handedness towards one of the 145 bands in attendance today was unnecessary. Zero arrests were made in relation to this incident but it has had a significant impact. We are seeking a meeting with the Chief Constable," he added.
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