Belfast Telegraph

Leaders appeal for calm after riots

The First Minister and Deputy First Minister have appealed for calm after sixteen police officers were injured in rioting in Belfast in the wake of the Twelfth of July Orange Order parades.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned the riots.

Mr Robinson said: "As a government we are working together to ensure that Northern Ireland prospers and grows in strength. It is saddening to see Ulster in the international news for all the wrong reasons. Those involved in last night's violence and rioting provide nothing to society. Those manipulating the violence will not win. The overwhelming majority are determined to move forward."

Mr McGuinness said: "I visited Ardoyne on Monday and met with local people, community and church leaders. They made it very clear to me that they did not want to see any violence in their community over the Twelfth parade. It is disappointing that a small number of people chose to ignore their demand and instead went about attacking the police and damaging the local community."

The ministers said they would meet in Stormont Castle on Thursday to discuss the recent violence and added, in a joint statement: "Those involved in rioting must realise that it only results in damaging their local community. We would appeal for calm and ask everyone to think of the consequences of their actions."

There was disorder at the notorious Ardoyne flashpoint in the north of the city and in the nationalist Markets area in the south on Tuesday night, police said. There was also trouble in Londonderry, Armagh City and Ballymena, Co Antrim.

It was the second successive night police were targeted, with 22 officers injured when violence broke out on Monday night in the nationalist areas of Broadway, Old Park and North Queen Street in the west of Belfast.

A 19-year-old man arrested in connection with the unrest in the Markets area has been charged with provocative conduct and is due to appear in court in the city next month.

The other four detained over the Stewart Street disturbances - three juveniles and an 18-year-old man - were released on bail pending further inquiries.

In Derry, the two men still in custody have been charged with riotous behaviour, possession of a petrol bomb and throwing a petrol bomb. The 18-year-olds are due in Londonderry Magistrates' Court next week.

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