16/07/2013

Assembly Recalled Over Riots

MLAs are currently discussing the issue of parading during the 12 July in a special debate at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP and other unionists were angered by a Parades Commission ruling that meant the Orange Order could only march through a predominantly Catholic area of north Belfast once last Friday, 12 July.

A blocking of the route by police on the return journey resulted in fierce rioting and violence which has continued for four consecutive nights.

The DUP described the Parades Commission ruling as rewarding dissident republican violence and has since called for the body to be replaced by an alternative group.

First Minister Peter Robinson also condemned the rioters and said anyone who attacks a police officer should end up in prison.
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But Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson said the DUP and UUP are "refusing to support the rule of law" by criticising the Parades Commission.

"Communities have suffered four nights of trouble which has seriously harmed community relations, damaged Northern Ireland’s international image and resulted in a large number of police officers being injured," he said.

"By opposing the lawful determinations of the Parades Commission, the DUP and UUP are refusing to show their full support for the rule of law and the PSNI.

"We need all political parties to show leadership and help calm the tensions that are running high. By using provocative language that attempts to direct blame towards the Parades Commission, the DUP and UUP are fuelling the protests which have led to trouble that we have witnessed in recent days."

(IT/CD)

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