Quitting drinking lifted me out of Crapsville. When I drank, I would often ponder why other people’s lives seemed to be so much more productive and together than my own messy, unsatisfying and occasionally frightening existence. I am writing about this today because I noted earlier just how content I am these days, and how […]
Sectarian tension in Belfast has spilled over into violence leaving four police officers and an MP injured.
Officers were pelted with masonry, bottles and other missiles during clashes with loyalists in Woodvale Road.
Police said four officers had been injured in the North Belfast disturbances as they dealt with “serious public disorder”. Water cannon have been deployed and non-lethal rounds known as Attenuated Energy Projectiles fired.
Water cannon have also been used by police in east Belfast in response to missiles hurled by crowds of people.
Trouble erupted as the Orange Order protested against the decision to ban a contentious July 12 parade from a north Belfast flashpoint.
Loyalist bandsmen played sectarian tunes at police lines while bricks and bottles were thrown.
At one point a rioter broke down a section of wall and threw it at police shields. Others used sticks and pieces of drainpipe to batter police vehicles while some danced on top of the force’s Land Rovers and tried to rip off protective plating.
Police were enforcing a Parades Commission ban. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities.
Three lodges from the Ligoniel area were able to walk the contested route this morning but were prevented from making the return journey.
Trouble has also broken out on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. Bricks and bottles have been thrown in both areas.
Meanwhile, motorists are advised to avoid the area of the Lower Newtownards Road in East Belfast due to a build up of crowds in the area.
Serious rioting has erupted after previous Orange Order evening marches in Ardoyne. Last year shots were fired at police who also came under sustained attack from petrol bombs thrown by republican protesters.
Before he was injured, Mr Dodds said: “This sort of situation here creating a bottleneck at this junction, the Parades Commission decision to block it here, this is the inevitable outcome.
“The police were well aware that was the danger the Parades Commission had put them in. I would appeal for everybody to stay calm, not to get involved in violence.
“The Grand Lodge have made it clear they do not want violence and the people who want to engage in violence should desist immediately.”
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly blamed the violence on the Orange Order and unionist politicians.
“Speech after speech at the various (Orange) demonstrations were clearly designed to stir up sectarian tension and have alongside the Orange Order’s failure to abide by Parades Commission determinations led directly to the violence in Belfast tonight.
“No amount of hand wringing or denial in the coming days from the Orange Order and unionist politicians can alter that reality.
“People had a right to expect better, instead what we got was a very deliberate strategy with the inevitable results being seen on the streets this evening.”
- The Twelfth: Police injured, plastic bullets and water cannon used amid violent clashes with loyalists in Belfast (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Belfast Violence: MP Nigel Dodds Hit By Brick (news.sky.com)
- Republicans: Orange Order ‘stirred up’ tension (itv.com)
- Clashes in Belfast following Twelfth of July parades – live updates (guardian.co.uk)
- Officers hurt in parades protests (standard.co.uk)
- Police attacked in north Belfast (bbc.co.uk)
- The Twelfth: Police injured and water cannon used as trouble flares across Belfast (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Nigel Dodds suspended from Commons over parades claim (newsletter.co.uk)
- Orangemen plan Ardoyne parade ban protests (newsletter.co.uk)
- Dodds expelled from Commons chamber (bbc.co.uk)