Minor trouble at Belfast internment rally

Published Sunday, 10 August 2014
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Minor trouble flared as a republican anti-internment parade passed through Belfast city centre amid a heavy police presence.

Loyalist protestors threw a number of missiles including plastic bottles and fireworks as the bands and up to 4,000 participants made their way along Royal Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides exchanged verbal abuse.

One member of the public and one police officer were injured during what the PSNI described as "minor trouble" in city centre, as police in riot gear stood between protestors and marchers.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "Our focus was, as always, on keeping people safe.

"Police will now review all evidence gathered and pursue all relevant lines of inquiry relating to any offences or breaches of the Parades Commission determinations."

The PSNI mounted a major security operation ahead of the Anti-Internment League parade, which marked the anniversary of the introduction of detention without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971.

There was trouble at the same event last year when loyalist protestors clashed with police, injuring dozens of PSNI officers during severe rioting on a Friday evening.

A loyalist protest took place at the junction of Royal Avenue and Lower Garfield Street on Sunday, but had been restricted to 200 protestors.

The parade passed off largely without incident.

Mark Hamilton continued: "Today's parade and associated protests passed off with minor trouble, with a number of fireworks and missiles thrown as the parade passed through Royal Avenue. One officer and one member of the public are reported to have each sustained a minor injury.

"There was a considerable policing operation put in place throughout the city centre today to ensure that the Parades Commission determinations were upheld."

The parade was supposed to make its way into the centre of Belfast at 1pm from the Ardoyne area, but the start was slightly delayed due to bad weather conditions.

Dozens of police in riot gear lined the route to keep groups apart, while metal security fences were set up throughout the city centre. A water cannon was also on standby.

A number of diversions were in place around Belfast to facilitate the parade and protests, causing some traffic disruption, with motorists asked to avoid many areas.

The area was reopened again to Sunday shoppers shortly after the parade passed.

Willie Frazer, who was at the protest, said missiles should not have been thrown, but claimed some of those involved in the march had been shouting about IRA atrocities.

He said: "The parade is a total disgrace.

"I know there were missiles fired, that should not have happened, but if people listen to what they were shouting, they were shouting about Kingsmill, the Shankill bomb and Teebane.

"These are the people who say they want to move on and get on with our communities."

The parade took place in the wake of Saturday's peaceful Apprentice Boys marches in Londonderry which police had described as "exemplary".

Chief Constable George Hamilton tweeted that he hoped Belfast could mirror this success.

Two arrests were made in Londonderry on Saturday however police said events had taken place largely peacefully for the third year in a row, due to the hard work of many local agencies.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin said: "Yesterday's Apprentice Boys of Derry parade in the city passed off extremely well, the parade itself was exemplary.

"I am pleased to say that I can't remember a parade that has gone so well in the 28 years that I have been policing in this city and I hope that this positive momentum only continues."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (160 days ago):
@ Linda in ni. Bit of a hypocrite Linda. After Father Michael Sheehan claimed last September that orange bands where going past St Patricks Church playing the sash you wrote and I quote "Moan moan moan next this priest will be complaining about noise from lorries and cars going by his chapel every day of the year". By your theory, would that also bring in flags where they are not wanted. The DEMOCRATIC decision to take the union flag at the city hall? That's a flag that not everyone wants, hence the decision. If I remember correctly you where not too happy about that. You see Linda you are happy enough to let Orange men march through the city centre and supporters standing consuming alcohol on the streets when any other time of the year anyone else would be arrested. I notice you didn't condemn the violence by protestors throwing grates of the aqua channels among other objects? If there are going to be protests, they have to be peaceful. Do you not agree? If you are going to "moan, moan, moan" about one, do it for both. Either ban all parades or none. You can't have it every way Linda.
henry in ireland wrote (170 days ago):
this parade was about internment when men young and old were drag from their beds and locked up for no reason other than where they lived and the sumptuous thinking that they were all involved in the ira which was totally wrong but it was a big factor in making the ira stronger than ever, so if anyones looking for someone to blame for this parade then take a look at who was responsible for given the ok to lock them up in the first place, and as for those who moan that it was over 30 years ago then how do you feel about the 12 of july and the boyne which was over 400 years ago but still blights this country year in year out, take a look in the mirror folks and get rid of your own demons befoe laying into others
Steven in Belfast wrote (170 days ago):
Have these people nothing better to do that parade about something which happened precisely 324 years ago??....whoops wrong parade.
Game Over in for All Parades wrote (171 days ago):
Time to bring the MADNESS of what are no more than sectarian parades to an end for good. We need to ALL move on into the 21st century. I am talking about ALL PARADES - (OO, RBP, RSF,AOH... etc) The Apprentice Boys of Derry are the ONLY organisation who have 'evolved' their cultural celebration in ways that removes the divisive sectarian element and, as a result, are the most successful parades with regard to inclusivity and cross community support/acceptance. ALL of the other organisations either need to follow suit or GO AWAY and STAY AWAY! WE NEITHER NEED NOR WANT YOU IN OUR SOCIETY ANYMORE.
KM in Belfast wrote (171 days ago):
People are complaining about this being 30 years ago and 'move on'. Yet you still celebrate something that happened over 300 years ago. It is difficult to accept political and cultural advice from people that can't even spell.
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