Orange Lodge to appeal against parade block over 'human rights breach'

The Orange Lodge said the block was based upon what it called a 'flawed fallacy of mayhem'.

Orange Lodge to appeal against Stonehaven parade block over ‘human rights breach’ Getty Images

The Orange Lodge in Scotland is “exploring options” to appeal against a council’s blocking of its plans for a parade in Stonehaven.

The Kincardine and Mearns area committee met on Tuesday to consider the application for a march from Stonehaven Town Hall, in Allardice Street, to Dunnottar Cemetery on March 16 at 2pm.

Councillors spent more than two hours considering their decision and asking questions of representatives before unanimously blocking the plans.

The Orange Lodge said this was based upon what it called a “flawed fallacy of mayhem”.

An online petition launched calling for the event to be stopped received more than 9,800 signatures and there were more than 100 formal objections made to the council.

The notice of procession application sent to Aberdeenshire Council suggested that around 200 people were likely to take part in the march. The local Lodge is understood to have 40 members.

The route was planned to pass six places of worship. Concerns were raised about the parade causing violence and negatively impacting local businesses.

Following the meeting, the committee chair councillor Sarah Dickinson said: “The committee faced a challenging decision in terms of balancing the rights of the organisers to submit the notification for the procession, and the very strong response it has drawn from the community.

“While the organisers provided useful contributions around the management of the proposed procession, the committee felt these did not outweigh the various concerns raised on behalf of the community and the potential additional burden on Police Scotland to ensure its safe running.”

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said the decision to prohibit the procession had been on “spurious” health and safety grounds.

The organisation said it intended to hold a “peaceful and respectful procession” which will pass by any given point in less than five minutes.

“There is no threat whatsoever to public order from the Orange Lodge members within the procession,” a spokesperson said.

“Indeed, the only threat to public disorder appears to be originating from certain people who are making this very assertion.

“This flawed fallacy of mayhem is constantly promulgated by those with biased intent who spend an inordinate amount of time painting our organisation in a negative fashion, who do not understand or even attempt to understand the concept of an Orange Order procession.”

The Lodge said the blocked procession was to commemorate the memory of the Covenanting martyrs who were imprisoned and died in Dunnottar Castle.

The organisation said “there is an underbelly within Scottish society” that seeks to deny it the right to stage its “colourful parades” which are “intrinsically linked” to its culture and community.

The Lodge claimed that any authority that sought to deprive it of the ability to exercise the rights to protest, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of speech, were in breach of the Human Rights Act.

“Political traditions and identity, including parading, continue to be central to cultural and social life throughout the length and breadth of Scotland,” a statement from the Lodge said.

“Somehow the slogan ‘One Scotland, Many Cultures’ seems rather hollow at present.”

The Stonehaven and District Community Council was among the groups that opposed the plans for the parade.

The group described itself as the voice of the community of Stonehaven and said it felt it had “captured the majority of that voice”.

“We are obviously pleased with the outcome of (Tuesday)’s vote and we thank the councillors for listening to all our concerns, and voting unanimously not to allow the march.”

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