One man has been arrested for suspected attempted murder, at least eight police and civilians were injured and one senior officer will undergo surgery after a night of violence amid the Twelfth, Protestant Orange Order parades.
Loyalists were attacking police on the unionist side of the police line in North Belfast while on the nationalist side a 16-year-old girl standing in the crowd was struck by a car driven by a loyalist. The driver has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The police report that the girl's injuries are not life threatening, but she is undergoing surgery on her pelvis. People on the scene had to lift the car off the girl.
The Police Federation said the disturbances left eight officers injured, one who needed 12 stitches for a bite wound. They called the riots "mindless, deplorable and shameful."
Rioting broke out in Belfast after police tried to prevent a Protestant Orange Order parade, which started out in the Woodvale area, from entering the primarily nationalist Ardoyne section of the city.
The parade reached a barrier at about 7:30pm on July 13, the BBC World Service reported. A decision had been made by officials that the parade could not pass a short stretch of the Crumlin Road, where many republicans, nationalists and Catholics live.
Within half an hour of the parade reaching the barrier a small number among the crowd of thousands started throwing bottles at police lines. They then dismantled the barrier and started throwing the bolts at the police. A minor riot carried on for an hour.
Rioters broke through police barricades and started dancing on the bonnets of PSNI armored Land Rovers, according to BreakingNews.ie.
Loyalist bandsmen played the sectarian “Famine Song,” played to the same tune as the Beach Boys' “Sloop John B” but with anti-Catholic lyrics, as well as the well-known loyalist tune "The Sash."
According to the BBC reporter on the ground although her injuries were not life threatening but obviously that riled or annoyed the nationalists.
The police were then facing threats on three fronts. Hundreds of police officers were in the area and Land Rovers were brought in. Meanwhile, the rioting was ongoing on the unionist / loyalist side and a water cannon had to be brought in to curtail that crowd.
Representatives of loyalist groups were shouting at people to get them to stop as police were being injured and carried out of harm’s way. Their shouts fell on deaf ears and the water cannon was brought in.
Police Federation for Northern Ireland chairman, Mark Lindsay, said, "These rioters had obviously come prepared to cause disorder.
"Once again, officers demonstrated their patience and professionalism even though their lines were under attack.
"The scenes we witnessed were deplorable and shameful. The behavior of those who viciously targeted police lines was mindless and unacceptable.
"Like others, I would appeal for calm. My thoughts are with my colleagues who were injured and those hundreds of officers who continue to work to bring order to challenging interface areas."
The Orange Order also condemned the violence. A spokesman for the Lodge of Ireland said, “Those involved in violence should desist."
They continued: “It is not only counter-productive but also plain wrong. Such actions are only strengthening the hand of those who wish to further curtail our parades."
Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, said, "I condemn these disgraceful attacks on the police. Those responsible do nothing to further the cause they claim to promote. They damage Northern Ireland and wreck a day which should be about respectful celebration of cultural tradition.”
PSNI chief constable George Hamilton said, "Police and security professionals, as well as members of the public, have endured unacceptable levels of violence and disorder.”
He continued, "The small minority determined to return to the bad old days must not be allowed to prosper. Politicians and community leaders should reiterate their support for the rule of law and condemn the violence without fear or favor."Mock public hanging of Sinn Fein female politician causes outrage