Police confront loyalist rioters in the Woodvale area of north Belfast on Saturday evening

Police confront loyalist rioters in the Woodvale area of north Belfast on Saturday evening

A SPECIAL court is sitting on Sunday evening as police bring riot accused to court over trouble on Twelth and 13th of July.

The PSNI say the courts will sit as long as is necessary as detectives investigate trouble in north and east Belfast.

Almost 40 officers have been injured during the violence which flared after Orangemen were blocked from making their homeward journey past the Ardoyne shop fronts on Friday.

Around 32 officers were injured on Friday, including a female officer from the UK who suffered a broken leg.

A further seven PSNI officers were injured after trouble flared in north Belfast during a second night of trouble .

Police deployed water canon after officers came under attack with petrol bombs, stones, bottles and fireworks in the Woodvale area.

It follows serious rioting on Friday night when 32 police officers and an MP were injured.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds was knocked unconscious after he was hit by a missile thrown by a loyalist rioter.

Another 400 police officers have been brought into Northern Ireland to assist the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

One police officer was hit by a petrol bomb during the rioting. The officer’s colleagues quickly extinguished the flames.

However, the trouble was nowhere near as bad as the violence which flared on Friday.

Castlereagh Street in east Belfast was closed to traffic for a period after crowds had gathered but it later reopened.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott has described the 12 July trouble as “shameful and disgraceful”.

Clashes developed when police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march.

The order called for widespread demonstrations after marchers were banned from a stretch of road separating loyalists and nationalists. It later said it was suspending its protest.

Twenty-two people have been arrested across Northern Ireland.

Mr Baggott said the Twelfth had been a “day of celebration” for many people and that the majority of parades had passed off “peacefully”.

“But I think this morning (Saturday) some of the leadership within the Orange Order needs to reflect upon whether they provided the responsible leadership asked for by myself and by the party leaders,” he said.

Some of the missiles thrown by loyalists at police on Friday evening

Some of the missiles thrown by loyalists at police on Friday evening

“Some of their language was emotive, having called thousands of people to protest, they had no plan and no control, and rather than being responsible, I think the word for that is reckless.”

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said she “utterly condemned” the rioting.

She said it was “right” that the Orange Order had suspended its protests and called for the organisation to “call them off completely”.

“It is the clear responsibility of everyone who has influence, including the Orange Order, community leaders and politicians, to do what they can to calm the situation. We need temperate language over coming days,” she added.

Unionists have defended the Orange Order.

DUP MLA Nelson McCausland said: “Let’s set ourselves a task. Let’s get rid of the Parades Commission.’

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said: “In my opinion, the leadership of the Orange Order failed the Orange Order and they failed these communities.”

He added: “The decision announced some hours ago, that they are suspending their protests, was a massive admission by themselves that they were culpable for what happened here last night.”

Many families with children were caught up in the violence in the north of the city.

Petrol bombs, bricks and fireworks were thrown at the police who responded with water cannon and fired 20 plastic baton rounds.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds was knocked unconscious after being hit by a missile thrown by loyalists.

The trouble started when the police blocked a road to enforce a determination made by the Parades Commission, preventing Orangemen from passing Ardoyne on the return route of their annual 12 July march.

The area has seen republican rioting in recent years when the parade was allowed to pass.



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