Irish Republican News · July 13, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
DUP MP injured as violence continues


Hardline unionist MP Nigel Dodds was injured last night in loyalist rioting in north Belfast.

Mr Dodds, who is deputy leader of the DUP and a member of the Orange Order, was hit on the head by a brick thrown by loyalists at PSNI police lines and was knocked unconscious.

He had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, where he is said to be recovered.

The PSNI said they had been attacked by Orangemen wielding ‘ceremonial’ swords, as well as by petrol bombs, fireworks and other missiles. They said twenty plastic bullets were fired in the Woodvale area, although there were no immediate reports of arrests.

At rallies throughout the day to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, Orange leaders all but called for the riot to force one of their marches through the nationalist Ardoyne area.

‘Ceremonial’ swords are normally used by the exclusively Protestant order as a symbol of the 17th century religious wars. Orangemen from across the North, including Portadown, where a parade down Garvaghy Road has been rerouted for 17 years, were among those who joined the Woodvale riot.

The violence has continued for more than five hours, with a brief lull around 9pm. Numbers began to dwindle after midnight, but petrol bombs continue to be thrown at police lines, and street lights have been knocked out.

Loyalist paramilitaries are thought to be involved in the trouble and are said to be planning days of disorder. A Garvaghy-style siege of the nationalist Ardoyne is now feared by local residents, and there are concerns of potential loyalist gun attacks under the cover of dark.

Sinn Fein North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly said there had been “a very deliberate strategy with the inevitable results being seen on the streets this evening”.

He said he had urged leadership from the Orange Order and from unionist politicians for a peaceful Twelfth.

“Today we have witnessed the exact opposite. Indeed, they have led their own people into violence on the streets this evening,” he said.

“Speech after speech at the various 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.”

While about a thousand loyalists rioted in the Woodvale area, there were also clashes in the Short Strand area of east Belfast and at York Street in the city centre, where hand-to-hand fighting erupted briefly between loyalists and nationalist residents.

Sinn Fein criticised the Orange Order’s long-standing refusal to talk to nationalist residents. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness called the Orange Order “a disgrace”.

“Responsibility for tonight’s violent attacks on police and the community rests with the leadership of the Orange Order,” he said.

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© 2013 Irish Republican News