Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 July 2015

Police attacked with petrol bombs in east Belfast during fifth night of loyalist violence

‘Peace envoy’ to Northern Ireland appointed in a bid to resolve issue of contentious parades arrives this week

By DAVID MCKITTRICK AND STAFF REPORTERS

Published 17/07/2013 | 06:28

A car is burnt out on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast
A car is burnt out on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast
Police pictured on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast
Police pictured on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast
Police pictured on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast
Orange men and loyalist protester on Twaddell avenue
Orange men parade up to police lines on Twaddell avenue
Orange men parade up to police lines on Twaddell avenu
Orange men parade up to police lines on Twaddell avenue
Orange men parade up to police lines on Twaddell avenue opposite the Ardoyne shops
Orange men at police lines on Twaddell avenue
Orange men at police lines on Twaddell avenue
Protest at police lines on Twaddell avenue
A petrol bomb burns on the ground
Loyalist protesters sit on top of an armoured police vehicle in North Belfast as trouble flared for the third night (AP)
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr holds a police officer's helmet
ACC Kerr with a shield belonging to one of his officers
Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne. A man on top of a police landrover gets blown off by the water cannon. DAVID FITZGERALD/PACEMAKER PRESS
A petrol bomb hits riot police after it was thrown by loyalist rioters in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
A burnt car sits on the O'Neill Road in Newtownabbey
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Sunday. The protest follows two nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Sunday. The protest follows two nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Sunday. The protest follows two nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Sunday. The protest follows two nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Sunday. The protest follows two nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists confront police in north Belfast, after an Orange July 12 parade was stopped from passing a Nationalist area. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 12, 2013. See PA story ULSTER Parades. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Loyalists confront police in north Belfast, after an Orange July 12 parade was stopped from passing a Nationalist area. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 12, 2013. See PA story ULSTER Parades. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Sunday 14th July 2013 Loyalists peacefully protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast this evening. The protest follows 2 nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday The marching season in Northern Ireland is a period of events from April to August, with the highpoint on 12 July when Orangemen march to commemorate William of Orange's victory over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists confront police in north Belfast, after an Orange July 12 parade was stopped from passing a Nationalist area. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 12, 2013. See PA story ULSTER Parades. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Sunday 14th July 2013 Loyalists protesting in the Woodvale area of North Belfast this evening. The protest follows 2 nights of disturbances in North Belfast after police enforced a ban on an Orange Order march on Friday The marching season in Northern Ireland is a period of events from April to August, with the highpoint on 12 July when Orangemen march to commemorate William of Orange's victory over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Loyalists hurled bricks and other missiles at police during violence clashes on the Twelfth of July.
PSNI aerial footage of Woodvale riot on Twelfth of July
PSNI arial footage of Woodvale riot on twelth of July
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. A loyalist protestor sits on the road as nearby heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
13/7/13 PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers stand firm as serious trouble broke out this evening in the Woodvale road area near Ardoyne. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Violence broke out in the Woodvale area of Belfast after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers were not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne shops that separates nationalist and loyalist communities
Loyalists confronted police in North Belfast on the Twelfth of July, following the decision to bar Orangemen from walking through Ardoyne
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds was injured in violence that followed an Orange Order parade. Police say Mr Dodds was knocked unconscious and taken away in an ambulance. Earlier he had appealed for calm after trouble broke out when the Orange parade was stopped on the Woodvale Road and was hit with a water cannon. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers faced serious trouble last night as they enforced the Parades Commission's ruling that Orange bandsmen could not return past the nationalist Ardoyne area after the annual 12th of July parade. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Friday 12th July 2013 Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities. PSNI help an injured Loyalist on the Woodvale Road Thousands of Orangemen are taking part in the annual Twelfth of July parades across Northern Ireland. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Violence broke out in the Woodvale area of Belfast after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers were not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne shops that separates nationalist and loyalist communities
Violence broke out in the Woodvale area of Belfast after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers were not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne shops that separates nationalist and loyalist communities
Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers faced serious trouble last night as they enforced the Parades Commission's ruling that Orange bandsmen could not return past the nationalist Ardoyne area after the annual 12th of July parade. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Heavily armed riot squad PSNI officers faced serious trouble last night as they enforced the Parades Commission's ruling that Orange bandsmen could not return past the nationalist Ardoyne area after the annual 12th of July parade. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
Loyalists clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
Loyalists clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further. A loyalist uses a captured police baton on police lines.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. An injured officer is taken away as Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. A Loyalist at police lines on Woodvale Road where the parade was stopped from going any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. An injured officer is taken away as Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. Loyalist clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further.
12th July celebrations take place across Northern Ireland to commemorate the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by King William of Orange. Loyal Orange Lodges of Ireland parade with marching bands to celebrate the date and the Protestant faith. The return parade past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast is blocked by a parades commission. A Loyalist at police lines on Woodvale Road where the parade was stopped from going any further.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
A man is injured and taken away in a police landrover at the junction of Fedrick street and York Road in Belfast as tensions run hight between loyalists and Police on the 12th evening. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/KEVIN MCAULEY MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA
A man is injured and taken away in a police landrover at the junction of Fedrick street and York Road in Belfast as tensions run hight between loyalists and Police on the 12th evening. PICTURE STEVEN MCAULEY/KEVIN MCAULEY MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. . At least two police officers have been injured. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2013 Water cannon have been used in north Belfast after bricks and bottles were thrown in a sustained attack on police Land Rovers in the Woodvale area of Belfast . The attack came as police enforced a Parades Commission ruling. . At least two police officers have been injured. The ruling stops Orange Order lodges from walking on a stretch of road in north Belfast that separates loyalist and nationalist communities. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.
Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.
Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.
Loyalist bandsmen and Orangemen pictured in the Woodvale area of west belfast with officers from the PSNI after the Parades Commission ruled that marchers are not allowed to return along the part of the Crumlin Road, at Ardoyne shops, that separates nationalist and loyalist communities.
A policeman is injured in disturbances with loyalists.
A policeman is injured in disturbances with loyalists.
A policeman is injured in disturbances with loyalists.
Loyalists clash with police on Woodvale Road as they are stopped from parading any further. A loyalist uses a captured police baton on police lines.
12.07.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD Riots kick off at Woodvale as the parades are not allowed to pass Ardoyne.
A total of 32 police officers were injured in violence in Belfast on Friday
Police officer is injured in north Belfast, after an Orange July 12 parade was stopped from passing a Nationalist area. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 12, 2013. See PA story ULSTER Parades. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Police fight back flames during rioting in north Belfast
Riot police prepare to confront loyalist protesters in the Woodvale area of north Belfast (AP)
A loyalist rioter attacks police in the Woodvale area of north Belfast (AP)
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr displays a police officer's shield which was struck by a ceremonial sword in Belfast

Petrol bombs have been thrown at police as large crowds gathered on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast on Tuesday.

Four cars were also  hijacked and set on fire. The trouble in east Belfast began just before 11pm.

Another car was also set alight on the O'Neill Road in Newtownabbey. Petrol bombs and a number of other missiles were also thrown a police vehicle in the area.

A further two cars were also burnt out - one at the junction of Albertbridge Road, and one on Glenmore Street off Templemore Avenue.

In north Belfast, more than 200 loyalists protested at Twaddell Avenue and a crowd of nationalist residents gathered at the Ardoyne shops.

Police said there were pockets of disorder in Woodvale, Mount Vernon and North Queen Street, where small fires were started.

It is the fifth night of violence in the city. On Monday police were attacked with blast bombs, a pipe bomb, petrol bombs and masonry.

Peter Robinson told a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly on Tuesday that there was no excuse for the violence which has marred parts of Northern Ireland.

The Democratic Unionist leader told MLAs: "The one message that this community will be waiting to hear from this Assembly is condemnation of violence, a requirement for people to stand by the rule of law.

"I don't think that anybody who takes a ceremonial sword to the head of a police officer can honestly find anywhere more suitable to be than in prison. There is no excuse for anybody carrying out what was an attempt to murder or seriously injure a police officer."

The Assembly has been recalled to debate a DUP motion which said efforts to build a shared future had been harmed by the decision to ban Protestant Orangemen from marching on a contested stretch of road in north Belfast on July 12

Meanwhile senior US diplomatic figure will arrive in Belfast this week with a mission to resolve thorny issues such as the recurring rioting which has just caused dozens of injuries to police.

In the wake of the trouble, former State Department official Richard Haass will chair all-party talks on issues including controversial parades, the flying of flags and how to deal with the past.

The most urgent topic will be that of marches, which has so left at least 71 police officers injured, mostly from encounters with loyalists. Several nights of disturbances have illustrated that Northern Ireland’s peace process has a long way to go.

The disorder has cost millions of pounds, and a number of incidents have shown that sectarian hatred continues to run at a high level in some working-class districts.

The starkest illustration came in west Belfast where a statue of the Virgin Mary was taken from a Catholic church, defaced, and placed on an unlit loyalist bonfire. A priest, however, thanked another Protestant who retrieved the statue and returned it.

In a separate incident, an effigy of a popular priest who recently died was placed on top of a bonfire.

Although the violence was slightly diminished this year, its recurrence demonstrated that the July peak of the Loyalist marching season continues to almost always result in street disturbances, including rioting and petrol bomb attacks.

This year most of the violence was directed at police by loyalists who objected to a ban on the Orange Order marching past the Catholic Ardoyne area of north Belfast. The subsequent rioting saw loyalists pelting police with bricks and other missiles, and cheering when an officer was knocked to the ground. The rioting seemed to be a mixture of political and sectarian anger, with a near-carnival atmosphere and much alcohol involved.

Nigel Dodds, a Democratic Unionist Party MP, was said to be recovering well after he was knocked unconscious by a brick apparently thrown at police by a loyalist. Police branded the Orange Order   reckless in encouraging protests, though the organisation later called for the suspension of the demonstrations after the injury toll mounted. According to Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr: “There is a volatility out there that’s very obvious to the people who have been on the streets of north Belfast. If you bring people out on to the streets you need to have calm and control, and we didn’t see either of those things.

“The behaviour of some was animalistic. Our officers acted with extreme professionalism in the face of violence. Some of these attacks can only be seen as attempted murder on officers.”

Dozens of men and youths have already been charged by police, with hundreds of more expected to be charged later. Meanwhile, in a number of incidents, dissident republicans threw ineffective bombs at police.

In the familiar blame game that followed, much condemnation was directed at the Orange Order. The Justice minister, David Ford, said: “The Orange Order must show some leadership and use any influence they have to prevent more trouble. So far, some of the language used by individuals and groups undoubtedly contributed to the situation which led to some people rioting.”

The order disclaimed responsibility for outbreaks, insisting it had been consistent and unambiguous that violence had no place in protests. Most immediately, the hope is that, as in previous years, the trouble will peter out after a few days. But the assumption is that next year will bring similar scenes unless new agreed measures on contentious parades are put in place within the next 12 months.

The invitation to Mr Haass to chair talks as a “peace envoy” is an attempt to achieve a breakthrough on an issue which, despite numerous attempts, has proved beyond the abilities of Belfast politicians to resolve. His task will not end there, since he is also being asked to tackle issues such as the flying of flags, which led to months of disruptive protests earlier this year.

Also on his agenda will be exploring whether a “truth and reconciliation commission” could help move the peace process on. This is another daunting task, given that more than a decade of local efforts have failed to achieve even limited progress.

The numbers

PSNI officers injured

Total to date:  71 injuries: 68 PSNI, 3 MA

Arrests

Total to date: 62 arrests linked to public order and parades.

AEP (Attenuated Energy Projectile) discharged

Total to date:  51

Petrol bombs thrown

Total to date: At least 125

 

Peace envoy: The coming man

 

Richard Haass will arrive in Northern Ireland with two initial advantages. The first is that he knows the Belfast scene well, having spent two years as President George W. Bush’s envoy from 2001 to 2003.

 

The second is that he has much experience in conflict resolution, first as a senior diplomat and later as president of the Council on Foreign Relations. One of his dozen books may have particular relevance - “How to be effective in any unruly organisation.”

 

Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said of him: “We are not talking about a rookie coming in. He knows everybody. He’s somebody who made huge efforts here. He knows the intricacies and complexities.”

 

One of his predecessors as peace envoy, former US Senator George Mitchell, is regarded as one of the heroes of the peace process who helped bring once-warring elements together.

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