17/07/2013

30 Bombs Thrown On Fifth Night Of Violence

Over 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police and cars were set on fire in east Belfast during a fifth consecutive night of disorder over the 12 July parades.

A further 300 officers from Great Britain are expected to be sent to Northern Ireland to help with the disturbances.

On Tuesday evening, police were again faced with a barrage of violence after crowds gathered on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

A police statement said: "The number of people involved in the disorder was lower than on previous nights. Trouble began at approximately 10.30pm and continued sporadically for a few hours. Calm was restored across most areas by approximately 12.30am.

"Four cars were set alight in the Templemore Avenue area of east Belfast, a car was set alight in Mount Vernon with a car and a moped set alight on the O'Neill road in Newtownabbey."

Over 71 officers have been injured since the trouble began on 12 July, when PSNI officers upheld a Parades Commission ruling restricting an Orange march through the predominantly nationalist area of Ardoyne.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has described the violence as "naked sectarian aggression".

Mr Adams was speaking in Leaders Questions in the Dáil. He asked the Taoiseach to join with him in calling for an "end to the protests by the orange order; in appealing for calm and in urging the Order to enter into a real dialogue on the issue of contentious parades with those host communities through which they wish to march."

He said: "The Orange leadership, which called for protests, has failed to provide the leadership necessary to prevent violence. On the contrary it seeks to blame everyone else for the bad decisions it has taken.

"I do not believe that the scenes we are witnessing reflect the views of the vast majority of members of the loyal orders or of citizens in the north."

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said: "The responsibility for this violence must be placed at the feet of those stoking the tension and bringing people out on the streets rather than the lawful decision of the Parades Commission.

"The reckless words and inflammatory rhetoric of many senior political and Orange Order figures prepared the ground for the violence that was to follow and they cannot abrogate their responsibility for it

"This violence does not exist in a political vacuum and until people assume accountability for the direct line that runs from their words to these violent confrontations we will be left facing the same situation."

Alliance east Belfast MP Naomi Long added: "There can be no justification for any of the violence that has occurred. It is totally unacceptable for anyone to attempt to exploit tensions which are running high in the area.

"I am extremely concerned for those who live in the area and those who police it, whose lives are being put at risk by the reckless actions of other people."

(IT/MH)

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