Tags: NIreland | Britain | unrest

Belfast Police Attacked in Second Night of Riots

Sunday, 14 July 2013 10:05 AM EDT

Police in Belfast were attacked with petrol bombs in a second night of violence by Protestant rioters in the Northern Irish capital.

Bricks, bottles, furniture and other missiles were also hurled on Saturday following riots that left 32 officers injured and a politician hospitalised on Friday.

Hooded youths, some with British flags covering their faces, were involved in the clashes in the north of the city.

Police responded by firing baton rounds and deploying water cannon.

The unrest was not as intense as on Friday night, when crowds attacked police with petrol bombs, sticks, fireworks, bricks, bottles, masonry and even a sword.

More than 600 police from mainland Britain had been sent to Northern Ireland in anticipation of tensions over the traditional Twelfth of July parades, the pinnacle of the Protestant Orange Order's marching season.

A further 400 were sent for Saturday following riots the night before.

Trouble flared Friday after police tried to enforce a decision by an adjudication body banning the Orange Order from marching through a Catholic republican area of Belfast.

"The scenes were both shameful and disgraceful," Chief Constable Matt Baggott of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told reporters.

He criticised leaders in the Orange Order who had called for protests against the decision to block their march through the republican Ardoyne area.

"Some of their language was emotive and having called thousands of people to protest they had no plan and no control," Baggott said.

"Rather than being responsible, I think the word for that is reckless."

The PSNI said 32 officers were injured in Friday night's violence. Leading Protestant politician Nigel Dodds was taken to hospital after being hit on the head with a brick and knocked out.

Dodds, who represents North Belfast in the British parliament, had been trying to calm the crowds down. He was discharged from hospital early on Saturday.

The July 12 parade marks the victory of Protestant king William III of Orange over the deposed Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

It is a flashpoint for tensions between the Protestant and Catholic communities in the province, which was devastated by three decades of sectarian violence in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The 1998 Good Friday peace accords largely brought an end to the unrest, known as The Troubles, although sporadic violence and bomb threats continue.


© AFP 2024

Sunday, 14 July 2013 10:05 AM
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