Orange Order members parade past the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Thousands of Protestant bands and Orange Order members paraded across many parts of Northern Ireland Saturday for the Twelfth of July celebrations an annual Protestant commemoration of the 1690 Battle of the Boyne. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Annual Protestant march in Belfast mostly peaceful

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LONDON (AP) -- Police in Northern Ireland say an annual Protestant parade that typically sparks riots and disorder has taken place peacefully.

Assistant chief constable Will Kerr praised the "responsible behavior" of those involved in the annual July 12 march, saying he was pleased it was one of the most peaceful in recent years.

The parades by the Orange Order brotherhood commemorate the 17th-century victory of Protestant King William of Orange against the Catholic he dethroned, James II. The marches often raise tensions among the Irish Catholic minority.

Last year, several nights of riots left dozens of officers and others injured, and hundreds of people were charged or reported to prosecutors for protest-related disorder.

This year, marchers were barred from passing a sectarian flashpoint in north Belfast.

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