Belfast Telegraph

Violence unjustified, says Robinson

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has called for calm after violence flamed following an Orange Order parade in Belfast.

With several people, including police officers, injured as rioters hurled missiles amid chaotic scenes, Mr Robinson said attacks on the PSNI and wider community are "wrong, can never be justified and must stop".

He added: "While there is justifiable anger and frustration at the Parades Commission, who bear much responsibility for the situation in Belfast as do those who attacked parades as they passed certain locations, nonetheless, those who are using the cover of protest to attack the police are massively damaging the cause they support.

"Violence is undermining a just cause and runs totally against the wishes of the Orange Order for protest to be entirely peaceful.

"My thoughts are with those who have been injured this evening, including my colleague Nigel Dodds MP and other Orange Order members, police officers and civilians. I appeal for cool heads to prevail at this time."

Sinn Fein are the DUP's main power-sharing partners at Stormont, and senior Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey accused Mr Robinson of a failure in leadership.

"Peter Robinson is the First Minister for all people, not for the Orange Order or any other sectional interest," he said.

"Pretending that the Parades Commission is to blame for attacks on the police or for attacks on the Catholic community in the Short Strand (East Belfast) simply isn't a tenable position for him to adopt."

The DUP has called a special meeting of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Tuesday to discuss the Commission's decision on Ardoyne which could now focus on recriminations following another night of violence.

Mr Maskey added: "Instead of confronting the reality of this violence and the role of the Orange Order in it the First Minister instead attempted to blame the Parades Commission for the disgraceful scenes in Belfast. This is disappointing and a failure in leadership."

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