Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist rioters 'will be punished'

A senior detective investigating weekend loyalist attacks on police in central Belfast and other violent disorder in the city this summer has vowed that hundreds of perpetrators will face the courts.

Describing the ferocious onslaught aimed at officers in a main shopping precinct on Friday night as some of the most intense violence witnessed in Northern Ireland in a long time, Detective Superintendent Sean Wright insisted he and his colleagues will catch those responsible.

"The message is simple: we are going to come looking for you," the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer warned the culprits.

A crowd of more than 1,000 loyalists ran amok in the city centre as they attempted to block the path of a lawful republican parade marking the anniversary of internment during the Troubles.

Police officers bore the brunt of the violence in the Royal Avenue area, with 56 injured and four treated in hospital.

Officers' representative body the Police Federation has called for a six-month ban on all contentious parades in Northern Ireland in order, it says, to take pressure off the police and provide breathing space for politicians to find a resolution.

Former White House special envoy Dr Richard Haass is due to chair cross-party talks on the issue at Stormont in the autumn.

Mr Wright is investigating Friday's trouble and other spates of public disorder that have flared in the city in the last month; unrest first triggered when Orangemen in north Belfast were prevented from parading past the nationalist Ardoyne area.

He previously led the investigation into loyalist rioting during the winter months, linked to Belfast City Council's decision to limit the number of days the Union flag flies over City Hall.

Police have so far taken action against 375 people in regard to the violence at the turn of the year.


From Belfast Telegraph