Twelfth 2015: DUP leaders condemn north Belfast rioters
DUP leader Peter Robinson and deputy leader Nigel Dodds have condemned the rioters who injured 24 police officers last night.
Violence erupted at the Ardoyne sectarian interface in north Belfast when police stopped an Orange Order parade marking the Twelfth of July.
One of the officers injured was an inspector had his ear "effectively severed" after being hit by masonry when crowds of loyalists at Twaddell Avenue attacked police lines.
First Minister Peter Robinson said the attacks on PSNI officers "as they go about their duty trying to keep the peace is wrong and cannot be justified regardless of the frustrations or the cause".
"Such behaviour is wrong and will be condemned by all right thinking people. The PSNI is tasked with upholding the rule of law and it is vital that those involved in such riotous activity cease and are held accountable. They do a massive disservice to the wider cause they claim to support.
"My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been injured whilst serving the public as well as the young girl who has been injured in vehicle collision.
"Orangemen and supporters were attacked whilst returning from Twelfth demonstrations this evening and such attacks again demonstrate the intolerance of those who are not prepared to respect and build understanding of cultural diversity."
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds added: “Attacks on police officers are totally wrong however outrageous the Parades Commission continues to behave.
"Over the years the Parades Commission has caved in to Republican violence and threats of violence. This has created a severe problem in relation to community relations and respect for law and order.
"The way forward is to recognise the failures of the past cannot be repeated and a new way forward for parading and protesting is badly needed. Secretary of State take note.”"