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Stonehaven’s Orange Lodge Parade Is Closed Due to Safety Concerns

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The Kincardine and Mearns area committee of Aberdeenshire Council has decisively canceled a contentious Orange Lodge procession that was scheduled for Stonehaven on March 16. The parade, which was supposed to mark the opening of a new Orange Lodge, has been called off due to serious safety concerns.

The decision was made in response to a strong public outcry, which resulted in a petition with almost 10,000 signatures opposing the town hall to Dunnottar cemetery march. Opposition to the event was stoked by worries about possible violence and disruptions to nearby businesses.

Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland representatives expressed shock, implying that legal action may be necessary, and condemned what they called a “frenzy” of conjecture. However, the unanimously approved council motion placed a high priority on maintaining public safety and order.

Councillor Alan Turner emphasized the opposition to the procession among the locals by describing previously unheard-before levels of concern. There were requests that the event be rescheduled as an in-house assembly instead of a parade.

Politicians, such as Kevin Stewart, the MSP for Aberdeen Central, praised the council’s decision and hailed it as a success for the welfare of the community. The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland’s grand treasurer, James MacLean, refuted the claims, calling them hearsay inflated by internet “keyboard warriors.”

As charges of hatred and sectarianism increased, the dispute got more heated. The petition’s creator, Neil Young, called the Orange Order a “hate group,” citing statements made by involved musicians on social media. Officials from the lodge angrily denied these allegations, reiterating their dedication to maintaining law and order.

Concerns remained despite the organizers’ claims of little interruption, leading Aberdeenshire Council to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment. Some negative effects were avoidable, while others, like less people walking about the neighborhood, could not be avoided.

The Orange Lodge parade’s future is in doubt, highlighting the fine line that must be drawn between community cohesion and freedom of expression. Fortunately, there are open routes for appeal.

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