A number of Northern Irish police officers were injured last night having been attacked by masked protestors. One female officer was taken to hospital when a slab of concrete was dropped on her head.

Police chiefs in Northern Ireland are calling for a long-term solution to these disputes which take place almost every July 12, when the Orange Order Parades take place.

Rioters, mostly young men with their faces covered, threw petrol bombs, bricks bottles and in one case a blast bomb. In the Ardoyne area of North Belfast baton rounds were fired and water canons used to control the rioters.

In Derrry a masked gunman fired at the police at 1.18am in the Bogside area. Officers also said that a car was set alight after being hit with petrol bombs when a man appeared from behind a building and fired five shots before escaping.

The police officers targeted by the protester were escorting the Orange Order Parade through the divide between republican and loyalist neighborhoods.

Other violent scenes broke out across the country in Lurgan, County Armagh and  Armagh City. However, the vast majority of Orange Order Parades passed without incident.

Last night’s violent attacks came after three police officers were shot with shotgun pellets and 24 others were injured during another bout of rioting in Belfast on Sunday night.

Chief Constable Alistair Finlay, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant said “We need to see real joined-up strategic political leadership, backed up by everyone in communities making their peaceful voices heard.

 “Northern Ireland cannot afford to have violent images beamed across the world every summer - images which are totally unrepresentative of the vast majority of people who have embraced a peaceful and vibrant future.”