Police vow 'significant arrests' following Belfast officer attacks after Orange Order march

 

Police chiefs today pledged to make “significant” arrests after officers were attacked with petrol bombs in an outbreak of street violence in the flashpoint Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

As the Parades Commission defended the decisions to allow two rival loyalist and republican marches to take place just hours apart in the same area, Chief Constable Matt Baggott said many of those involved in the disturbances will face the courts.

He said: "There was no excuse for the rioting or the violence, even though it was contained in a relatively small area of Northern Ireland."

Ten PSNI officers were injured. Dissident republicans, opposed to the Sinn Fein peace process strategy of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were among the crowds attacking the police.

Four men were arrested, but video footage will be examined to identify others involved in the trouble.

It started after hundreds of anti-riot police moved in to keep the factions apart as Orangemen returned home to a neighbouring area following a big Orange Order demonstration in the city - one of several across Northern Ireland on Thursday marking the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

Although it lasted for several hours, the violence at Ardoyne, a Protestant/Catholic flashpoint, was not on the same scale as in previous years. But officers were on the receiving end of some vicious attacks. Three blast bombs were thrown and up to 10 shots were fired by a gunman. Three cars were hijacked.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: "It's three days of annual madness where everybody thinks the police are legitimate targets."

All sides, including the Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, hit out at the ruling by the Parades Commission to allow the two parades to take place within such a short period of time and in such a highly charged atmosphere.

But the chairman Peter Osborne insisted the decisions were right in the circumstances. And he challenged the politicians to take responsibility to adjudicate on contentious marches.

Mr Osborne said: "It is complete and utter nonsense to blame the Parades Commission for the violence last night. There has been violence in this location for many, many years now."

He added: "It is time for politicians to take ownership of contentious parades - that's the way forward."

The Commission chairman was backed by the Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson.

He said: "The Parades Commission was lawfully constituted by Parliament in 1998 in order to take decisions over parades out of the hands of the police and politicians.

"Should local politicians agree to alternative arrangements, and take responsibility for parading as was envisaged in the 2010 Hillsborough Castle Agreement, the Government will support them.

"In the meantime we shall stand by the independent Parades Commission as the sole legal authority in Northern Ireland to make determinations on parading."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions