A LOYALIST march taking place in the Highlands has attracted criticism online after its confirmation was announced by the local council.

The Apprentice Boys of Derry – which regards itself as separate from the Orange Order – has organised the march to take place in Inverness and is hosted alongside the City of Inverness Campsie Club.

The city centre will see a number of temporary road closures on April 20, between 2:45pm and 4:30pm.

Although Highland Council have approved marches of a similar nature – two were held in 2019 and two in 2023 – the local authority's post provoked outrage on Twitter/X with one person asking, "what on earth are you thinking?".

READ MORE: How many Orange Order walks and  loyalist processions were held in your council area in 2023?

They added: "Time to stop this bigotry and sectarianism in the Highlands.”

One user wrote: "Leave your bigotry and religious division where it belongs, not up here!”

Another said: "Utterly depressing that Highland Council would allow this utter hate march. A very backward step.”

Another user claimed: "This is not a parade. You obviously know and the ambiguous description suggests the council is hiding this.

"This is a display of sectarianism and religious bigotry."

The National: Apprentice Boys of Derry parade

On the group's website, it states: "The Apprentice Boys of Derry Association is a Christian, historical and cultural organisation, committed to maintaining the spirit of courage and liberty displayed by the Defenders of Londonderry in 1688-1689."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We are aware of the planned march in Inverness on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

"Our policing operation will be proportionate and focused on public safety, as well as working closely with partners to reduce disruption to the wider community."

The Highland Council later added to the post: "The notification process for the parade was dealt with according to requirements of Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and Highland Council’s scheme of delegation.

"Parade route details were sent to Police Scotland, roads, and local members for consultation and no objections received."

The outrage comes after Aberdeenshire residents urged their local authority to intervene and stop an Orange Order walk from taking place in Stonehaven on March 16.

After an appeal was quashed, the march did not go ahead.