BELFAST’S NIGHT OF SHAME AS 32 POLICE OFFICERS INJURED AND MP HIT BY MISSILE

Police officer lies injured on the Newtownards Road on Friday night

Police officer lies injured on the Newtownards Road on Friday night

THE streets of Belfast are quiet on Saturday as a clear up operation got underway to remove debris from the scarred streets in the north and east of the city.

A total of 32 police officers were injured during serious disorder in Belfast on the Twelfth of July, according to the Police Federation, the union which represents rank and file officers.

The figure includes 30 PSNI officers and two “mutual aid officers” from the UK. One, a female, had her leg broken.

More police reinforcements arrived on Saturday morning to bolster the PSNI for fear of further violence.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott described the scenes as “shameful and disgraceful”.

He said some of the leadership from the Orange Order had been “reckless” and “compromised the safety of many people”.

He continued: “Some of the leadership within the Orange Order need to reflect upon whether they provided the responsible leadership asked for by myself and by the party leaders.

“Some of their language was emotive and having called thousands of people to protest they had no plan and no control and I think the word for that is reckless. Not to have a plan, not to have control compromised the safety of many people.”

There were 4,000 police on the streets of Northern Ireland on Friday evening.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “We had officers who were knocked unconscious, officers with head, leg, other limb and eye injuries.

“Two of the officers injured were mutual aid officers. The female officer with a suspected fractured leg was in very good spirits this morning.”

Seven people were arrested in south and east Belfast for a range of offences including common assault and disorderly behaviour.

Missiles were thrown as the Twelfth parade made its way onto the Lower Newtownards Road, some towards houses in the Short Strand from the Strandwalk direction.

Eight police were injured protecting St Matthew’s chapel.

Police were also attacked in the Short Strand. In a statement they said: “Within the Short Strand officers were attacked with missiles, thrown by individuals from within this community. Police officers deployed water cannon to manage public disorder in the lower Newtownards Road area.”

Violence flared in the north and east of the city in the wake of parades and protests on Friday – and continued into the early hours of Saturday .

Police officer injured during serious rioting in the Ardoyne area by loyalists

Police officer injured during serious rioting in the Ardoyne area by loyalists

Members of the public were advised to avoid the Woodvale Road, Twaddell Avenue, the Westlink at York Street, and the Crumlin Road at Hesketh Street.

North Belfast DUP MP Mr Dodds, who is also a member of the Orange Order, was hit on the head by a missile thrown by loyalists at police and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

He has since been released from hospital.

Petrol bombs, bricks, heavy masonry and fireworks were thrown at officers in the Woodvale area.

According to a PSNI spokesman, officers in north Belfast were also been attacked by people wielding ceremonial swords.

Two women were struck by plastic baton rounds at the height of the violence in north Belfast.

Police say 20 AEP baton rounds were fired and three water cannons were deployed.

Around 630 officers from across Great Britain were drafted in ahead of the Twelfth.

The Orange Order had called for protests against the Parades Commission’s determination that there could be no return parade past the Ardoyne shop fronts.

Loyalists attack PSNI landrovers which blocked their return route home

Loyalists attack PSNI landrovers which blocked their return route home

Grand Chaplain Mervyn Gibson said that call has now been suspended.

He continued: “In support of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s appeal for calm, the Ligoniel lodges – with the full support of the County Grand Orange Lodge in Belfast -have decided to suspend their protest in relation to the determination for the Crumlin Road.

However, the Orange Order was heavily criticised heavily on social networking sites for “backing down” over the protest.

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