The annual period of sectarian strife surrounding the July 12th marches saw an increased number of loyalist ‘Eleventh Night’ bonfires.
The giant bonfires are lit on the eve of the ‘Twelfth’, and were traditionally used to intimidate nationalists.
Loyalists traditionally place Irish tricolours or other nationalist images on the bonfires as a declaration of intent, and celebrate as the flags and icons are consumed by flames.
In New Mossley in Belfast, the bonfire -- estimated to be the largest in the North this year -- stood at more than 100ft tall. Other massive structures were erected in areas such as Mount Vernon in north Belfast, the Cregagh estate in the east of the city and on the Shankill estate in west Belfast, where the bonfire rose to around 90ft and is expected to burn for days.
In most cases tyres -- which give off toxic fumes when alight -- were placed on the bonfires as efforts to organise more environmental ‘beacons’ were abandoned.
The placing of a white coffin on top of a bonfire in Newtownabbey, County Antrim was seen as an unusual threat, while the bonfire in east Belfast carried a giant poster with the traditional message K.A.T., meaning Kill All Taigs [Catholics].
A number of incidents took place in the hours following the setting of the fires, as intoxicated loyalists sought Catholics to attack.
A house in the Drumlough Gardens area of Lisburn was set ablaze shortly after midnight on Thursday morning when a petrol bomb was thrown at the house. There was also a major overnight blaze in south Belfast which caused a house in the Holylands to partially collapse.
On Saturday, two men, aged 19 and 29, were attacked in the unionist Westland Road area at around 5.30am. The two men received slash wounds in an incident also believed to be connected to sectarian tensions.
In a separate incident, there was trouble in Lurgan on Wednesday after a van was driven up to the main PSNI base in the town. It followed news that interned local man Martin Corey would continue to remain in jail, despite receiving unconditional bail.
The van was hijacked in the Lurgantarry area of the County Armagh town at around 5.40pm on Wednesday before the driver was told to proceed to the PSNI police station in the town.
A series of controlled explosions were carried out by the British Army on the abandoned van before it was declared a hoax.