Belfast Telegraph

114 arrested over parades violence

Detectives investigating serious violence following loyalist parades on July 12 have arrested 114 people.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said officers from its Operation Titan team had charged 82 people with a range of public order offences. Fifteen others have been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

The arrests are all connected to disturbances in north and east Belfast on July 12.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright, who is leading the hunt for suspected troublemakers, said the investigation has received strong public support.

"It is vital that we all send out a message to those involved in public disorder that such behaviour will not be tolerated. Those who break the law must face consequences for their actions. They will be dealt with appropriately and proportionately through the criminal justice system," he said.

Dozens of police officers were hurt when trouble flared following a number of annual Orange Order parades in Belfast. A massive security operation was put in place to prevent Orangemen from walking on a contested stretch of the Crumlin Road in the north of the city after a ruling by the Parades Commission adjudication body.

During the violence officers were hit with missiles including bricks, fireworks and heavy masonry launched by a drunken mob, some of whom were wearing Orange sashes.

Police also clashed with loyalists in the lower Newtownards Road area of east Belfast.

The PSNI said they were investigating a range of offences including the attempted murder of police officers, blast bomb attacks on police, hijackings, rioting, breaches of the Parades Commission determination and unlawful protests.

They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward and have released images of 22 people they are keen to speak to.

The senior detective added: "There are people out there who will know the identity of these 22 people who I am looking to speak to. I am confident that those people will come forward with that information.

"I would ask anyone who believes one of the images is of them to contact us immediately in order to help us with our enquiries."

During a meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board earlier today it was revealed that more than £15 million has been spent since April on policing parades, protests and associated disorder. A total of £14 million was used over a 21-day period in July - £2.3 million on the Twelfth alone.

Police said 689 officers have been injured since July last year, and 18 remain on sick leave.


From Belfast Telegraph