MS Society removes 'turn streets of Belfast orange' tweet

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A group of people are wearing orange t-shirts that say Stop MS on themImage source, Matt Pitts
Image caption,
MS Society supporters are encouraged to wear orange while fundraising

A charity has apologised after a tweet calling on people to "turn the streets of Belfast orange" drew comparisons to Orange Order parades.

The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society asked people to wear orange, the charity's brand colour, in a tweet that has since been removed.

It said it understands how the tweet might be interpreted, according to charity news magazine Third Sector.

The charity said the tweet was an "honest mistake".

Some people drew comparisons between the tweet's request for people to wear orange and Orange Order parades.

The parades mark the victory of King William III - the Dutch-born Protestant better known as William of Orange or King Billy - over the Catholic King James II in Ireland in 1690.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Orangemen traditionally wear orange sashes when they march

The Orange Order holds marches throughout the year - its main annual parades are on 12 July.

The marches have traditionally been a source of tension in Northern Ireland, with many nationalists objecting to them as triumphalist and sectarian while the Orange Order defends them as an expression of culture and Protestant faith.

The MS Society said: "We're sorry for any offence caused by this tweet and understand how it might have been interpreted.

"Orange is the MS Society's brand colour and this campaign was used to promote our MS fundraiser across the whole of the UK.

"This was an honest mistake and the advert has now been taken down."

The MS Society's fundraising walk in Belfast is due to take place on 13 September and the organisation said people may wear any colour they choose.