Northern Ireland marching season: One man stabbed in clashes before Orange Order parades

In recent years when a parade was permitted to pass Ardoyne, republicans have rioted. When it was restricted last year, loyalists were involved in disorder

One man was stabbed as rival sectarian gangs clashed in Northern Ireland in the early hours yesterday, police said. Eight people were arrested for public order offences after what police described as a "small number of disturbances in North and West Belfast" before the annual Twelfth of July parades, when people march to mark the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Across Northern Ireland, tens of thousands of Orangemen and women took part in celebrations. Police reported no further incidents as they passed known sectarian flashpoints.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement that the stabbing took place in an earlier clash between loyalist and republican gangs in the Ormeau Bridge area of South Belfast: "The two groups were separated at approximately 3.30am. Police stayed in the area for several more hours to ensure that the area remained calm."

The stabbed man was taken to hospital; his injuries were "not believed to be life-threatening", the police added. There were also two other stabbings in the city in the early hours of yesterday morning although police said the motive for those was unclear.

Anna Lo, an Alliance Party MLA, said: "I am shocked that this sectarian fight has taken place in South Belfast. Those who took part should be ashamed of themselves." Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, however, said he was "encouraged by the responsible behaviour of the vast majority of people involved".

With the bill for policing parades and flag disputes over the past 20 months at around £55m, there is a significant effort to avoid further trouble.

In recent years when an Orange Order parade was permitted to pass Ardoyne, republicans have rioted. When it was restricted last year, loyalists were involved in disorder. Almost 700 people were charged or reported to prosecutors last year in relation to parade or protest-related disorder. While not all cases have progressed through the system, 561 people have been convicted to date and many have ended up in prison with sentences of up to five years.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker