The British Army today cancelled a flypast amid heightening fears of violence breaking at a soldiers’ homecoming parade in the centre of Belfast on Sunday.
The Northern Ireland GOC Major General Chris Brown also said none of the troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq would be carrying weapons.
Sinn Féin supporters and dissident republican factions are to stage protest demonstrations. With thousands of other people expected on the streets in support of the march, police are mounting a massive security operation.
In a statement today, the GOC said: “We have taken a number of measures to ensure that our Thanksgiving Parade does not increase the potential for friction. These measures include the fact that all on the parade will be unarmed and the musical repertoire will reflect the tri-service nature of this event, including regimental tunes, as well as the fact that it is happening on a Sunday.
“As a further measure I have decided there will be no flypast. This further underpins our appreciation of the sensitivities surrounding this element of the parade.”