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Missiles are fired at police after attack on Orange hall

Youths pelted police with stones and sticks as they attended a Belfast Orange hall that had been attacked with a petrol bomb and paint.

Belfast Orange Hall on Clifton Street was targeted at around 10pm on Sunday, causing minor damage.

Police are treating the attack as a sectarian hate crime.

As police responded to the incident they were attacked with missiles by a group of 20 youths at Henry Place, which faces the hall, in the north of the city.

A spokesman for the County Grand Orange Lodge said it was not only essential that physical attacks stopped, but it was also important to eliminate the climate in which they took place.

"Clifton Street, a main arterial route into Belfast city centre, has become a no-go street for Protestants during loyal order parades. Hymns and other music are banned from being played.

"Those on parade are punished not for what they did, but for the alleged action of others," he said. "What message does this send to young republicans?

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"If it's legally all right to discriminate against them, we might as well burn them out. A sad indictment on a so-called shared future."

Ulster Unionist north Belfast representative Andy Allen said: "Clifton Street Orange Hall is an iconic and historic building of great symbolic importance to many people. The individuals who attacked it with paint and petrol bombs knew exactly what they were doing.

"It is clear that there are elements out there that are determined to whip up tensions and provoke a response in the form of retaliation.

"This is a road to nowhere and a trap into which the community must not walk."

Police appealed to anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.

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