Third night of rioting by loyalists


There has been a third consecutive night of disorder and violence in Belfast and in other locations.

A large mob again gathered tonight in the loyalist Woodvale area of north Belfast to force a sectarian parade through Ardoyne and other nationalist areas.

Masked gangs of loyalist youths also appeared throughout the day at sectarian interfaces and across main roads around the city after organisers placed rallying messages on internet sites.

Some of the worst violence tonight took place when the PSNI entered a narrow alleyway in the Woodvale area, and were attacked with barrages of bricks and petrol bombs.

A hijacked car was burned out in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast, where UVF paramilitaries set up burning barricades.

Earlier, at least one car was burnt out in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, amid reports of other hijackings. Rioters also gathered at the square in Ballyclare, County Antrim. Trouble was also reported for a second night in parts of Derry and for a third night in east Belfast.

In many of their public comments leading up to Friday, the Orange Order appeared to encourage violence protest against the refusal to allow the parade. But on Saturday morning, after six hours of rioting and after coming under severe criticism from churchmen and nationalist politicians, they said they would suspend their protest.

That appeal may have reduced the scale of the violence on Saturday night, although volleys of petrol bombs were still thrown in Woodvale by over a hundred masked youths, while men carrying Orange Order banners and wearing collarettes were also present.

The PSNI said seven of its members were injured on Saturday night, down from the more than thirty it said were injured on Friday night, at the height of the trouble. Several dozen plastic bullets were fired in both north and east Belfast, angering human rights groups who have long campaigned for the deadly weapon to be banned.

The PSNI has revealed that more than a thousand additional police have now been brought in to the North from Britain amid official expectations of continuing disorder.

But in nationalist Ardoyne, the focus of the loyalists hate and provocation, residents have heeded appeals by community leaders and the area remains calm.

Meanwhile, the DUP has recalled the Stormont Assembly tomorrow [Monday] to express its anger over the rerouting of Fridays parade, and is expected to see a difficult debate. The party also said its north Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds, continues to recover after being hit by a loyalist brick while protesting on Friday night.

Speaking at a Sinn Fein event in Sligo, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that while the events in Belfast were deplorable, hundreds of Orange marches had also passed off without incident.

The root of the violence in Belfast by people who claim to be loyal, lies in the refusal of the Orange leadership to talk to their neighbours and in the inflammatory speeches in the lead up to the Twelfth, he said.

Orange is one of our national colours. We are committed to respect and tolerance of the Orange tradition but sectarianism and incitement to hatred cannot be tolerated.

As usual, when those who incited the trouble have left the scene, the burden is carried by poor, working class neighbourhoods and communities.

He also praised those across Belfast who bravely used their energies to protect young people and to keep the situation as calm as possible.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2013 Irish Republican News