Belfast parade ends in 700 rampage

A 700-strong mob took to the streets of Belfast tonight in a new wave of loyalist rioting, according to the PSNI.

Loyalist petrol bombers hurled devices at security lines drawn on the Albertbridge Road in the east of the city. One police officer was injured in the violence.

A blast bomb also exploded at the gates of New Barnsley Police Station in west Belfast, causing minor damage.

Gangs set fire to a hijacked car and van in south Belfast, while more vehicles were seized at Ballysillan in the north of the city.

Nearly 100 masked men attacked police with petrol bombs on the nearby Ardoyne Road, and motorists were urged to avoid the Westlink motorway route through the city, reports IOL.

According to Guardian, officers played a deadly game of dare with the rioters, charging convoys of up to 10 armoured vehicles into rioters to make "snatch" arrests. Meanwhile, in the barricaded backstreets, others brought up fresh improvised weaponry and blast, pipe and petrol bombs.

In the alleys the wounded were treated with bags of frozen peas and swigs of morale-boosting lager. Trouble also broke out at Ardoyne Road, Tiger's Bay, Tates Avenue and Donegall Pass and Bangor, north Down, just as mayhem had reigned across loyalist areas of Belfast and Antrim for 12 hours on Saturday night.

Police yesterday displayed their armoured Land Rovers, which had been peppered with automatic fire. More than 2,000 police and soldiers had to be brought in to quell what one officer called "mob rule". One man was critically injured after being caught in an explosion, another was shot in the stomach by a loyalist sniper. Police later found seven guns and what they termed a "bomb factory".

After snipers fired at least 50 shots at his officers following the parade, the chief constable, Sir Hugh Orde, accused the Orange Order of stoking the violence. He said: "I have seen members of the Orange Order in their sashes attacking my officers. I have seen them standing next to masked men. That is simply not good enough ... The Orange Order must bear substantial responsibility for this.

"They publicly called people on to the street. If you do that, you cannot abdicate responsibility."

Yesterday the Orange Order condemned Sir Hugh's remarks as "inaccurate and inflammatory", but the chief constable later released footage showing Orangemen attacking police lines.

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