Belfast Telegraph

War of words over who's to blame for Twelfth riot

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Police have released their findings following a review into violence between rival factions in east Belfast on the Twelfth of July.

As they tried to restore order, police came under sustained attack by both sides which resulted in 13 officers sustaining injuries.

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott and Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton met with the leaders of the DUP and UUP to discuss concerns over the force's handling of the parade on the Newtownards Road.

Missiles were thrown from both sides of the Newtownards Road/Short Strand interface and a number of children associated with the parade were injured.

Among the findings of the review were the increase of tensions caused up the "unknown and unpredictable nature of the Orange Order protest activity", as well as the "stalling of the return parade by 53 minutes".

Police said the the numbers involved in the attack from the Short Strand and the quantity of missiles available indicated a high likelihood of pre-planning.

They also said a large number of missiles were thrown into the area from the Newtownards Road.

In a joint statement, DUP leader Peter Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said it was "incumbent upon the PSNI to ensure those peacefully celebrating culture are protected".

Sinn Fein councillor Niall O Donnghaile accused the unionist leaders of pointing the finger of blame for the disorder at nationalist residents. He said: "Through their selective accounts of the PSNI report on the day they have once again failed to show leadership."

Mr Robinson and Mr Nesbitt said they are seeking a seminar with community and parading representatives in September "in an effort to encourage positive relations and community confidence in policing".

Both leaders have also called for a peaceful reception for the Apprentice Boys of Derry parade on Saturday.

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