Why the hangers on?

I was dissapointed to see that tonight's Orange Order parade through North Belfast ended in violence. From the pictures on this evenings news, it seems that the flashpoint occured when the Orange Order's supporters marched through the Ardoyne interface.

For the life of me, I can't understand why these supporters have to involved in marching behind Orange Order parades. We constantly are told that it is "traditional" for the Orange Order to march various routes. Are gangs marching behind the Order also traditional? I recognise that the Orange men have rights, however one has to wonder why they insist on having supporters follow them when those supporters are not part of the actual march and do nothing except crank up sectarian tension. Last July, I understand that supporters on the same route carried paraphenalia of various Loyalist Paramilitary groups, yet of course received nothing but support from MP for the area, the DUP's Nigel Dodds.

While the Orange Order tie themselves so closely to these "supporters", few can have any doubt that their marches are not in fact an expression of culture, bur rather an attempt to exert dominance and superiority over their Nationlist neighbours.

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