From ............ Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Sunday, August 11,1996

The Associated Press LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland - Protestants took a long hard look Saturday at army barricades blocking the town walls they had planned to march on and chose to make their stand another day.

The 15,000-strong Apprentice Boys, the pro-British Protestant fraternal order in this mostly Roman Catholic town, decided not to face off with police and instead marched through the predominantly Protestant east side of Londonderry.

But in the Catholic village of Dunloy, 35 miles east, residents cut down a tree to block a road, while police closed roads leading into town and fired plastic bullets to restore order. No serious injuries were reported.

In Londonderry, soldiers had erected barbed-wire barricades along the Protestants' intended route - the 17th-century walls overlooking the Catholic Bogside district - fearing widespread Catholic rioting if they didn't.

Catholic protesters, who last year were forced off the walls to make way for the Apprentice Boys, breathed a qualified sigh of relief, knowing that retaliation may come somewhere else.

Protestant leaders did not try to calm their fears.

"It is our firm intention to walk these city walls at a time of our own choosing," said Alistair Simpson, governor of the Apprentice Boys. He spoke after the group's traditional thanksgiving service inside St. Columb's, the first Protestant cathedral built in Europe after the Reformation.

Groups of tough-faced men accompanying the marchers were drinking heavily from 11 a.m. onward, and police arrested several at the end of the march after being barraged by beer cans and rocks.

Early today, Protestants and Catholics threw bottles at each other in the town center, while Catholic boys hurled bottles at police who intervened.

In Dunloy, the violence erupted when Protestant marchers returning from Londonderry clashed with local Catholics trying to block their way.

Tempers rose again as the Apprentice boys rallied at their headquarters just inside the walls. Young boys, none more than 10 years old, fired bottIes and rocks over the walls at the Protestants.

Widespread rioting last month throughout Northern Ireland was caused by another blocked Protestant march in Portadown, 45 miles southeast of Londonderry.

Since the 1820s, the Apprentice Boys have commemorated the town's successful defense in 1689 against forces loyal to James II, the English Catholic king deposed the previous year by the Protestant William of Orange. They are named after 13 apprentices who in December 1688 bolted shut the town gates in the face of James' army.