Urgent parading solution needed - PSNI

Published Tuesday, 04 September 2012
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Police are appealing to politicians to find a solution to the parading issue in north Belfast before someone is killed.

Urgent parading solution needed - PSNI
An injured police officer during the street violence. (© Pacemaker)

The plea came from a senior police officer after a second night of violence in the Carlisle Circus area during which 15 police officers were injured.

Three of the injured officers were taken to hospital for treatment.

Seven people have been arrested after the disturbances continued through to 3am on Tuesday morning.

Several hundred people - believed to be mainly loyalists - hurled missiles including 15 petrol bombs, fireworks and bricks at the PSNI. A van was hijacked and pushed towards police lines in Denmark Street.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said "the level of engagement and dialogue and political activity" needs to be speeded up to make sure the parading issue is resolved sooner rather than later.

"What has happened to date hasn't worked," he told UTV.

He said that police resources were being re-allocated from other areas to deal with the rioting.

"We don't want someone to get killed - it's critically important," he continued.

I am very proud of how my colleagues stood in the face of danger, working to bring this situation under control but I am saddened and angry that again we find ourselves subject to serious violence from the communities we serve.

ACC Will Kerr

Nigel Dodds of the DUP said political leaders have been working to ease tensions.

"We have been meeting the police today because we want to move issues forward as politicians," he explained.

"There were very constructive talks prior to the Twelfth and between community groups as well and all of that must continue. People don't need to be lectured about what to do, people are doing this work on the ground and we need to make it succeed."

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said it is the loyal orders who must answer "hard questions".

He said: "The loyal orders need to come out.

"They're the only grouping, when you go through all of it including the politicians, who haven't come up. They need to be brought out and asked the hard questions."

Alban Maginness of the SDLP blamed paramilitaries for the rioting.

He told UTV: "There's nothing spontaneous in this rioting, it's an organised and sustained demonstration by paramilitaries of their street power in the Lower Shankill area, there's no doubt of that in my mind."

However Billy Hutchinson of the PUP said the real cause is disillusionment with the peace process from within loyalist communities.

"We need to examine why this happened in the first place and we need to stop blaming people and actually look at the real causes," he said.

"People need to realise that loyalist communities don't see the benefits of the peace process and certainly see an attack on their culture.

"We need to ensure this doesn't happen for a third night."

Constable Kerr said: "We have no evidence that the UVF officially sanctioned or orchestrated the violence over the past couple of nights but you cannot have violence take place in those areas and not have members of loyalist paramilitary groups involved.

"Undoubtedly there were people from those groups involved in the disorder but equally there were people from those groups trying to quell and restore order."

The worst of the trouble was over by around midnight when the crowds dispersed. Police said the area has now been re-opened to traffic.

Six baton rounds were fired at the crowd and water cannon was used.

Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said: "Their bravery and courage is in stark contrast to that of the cowardly thugs responsible for trying to murder them."

It comes after 47 officers were hurt overnight on Sunday, during violence which broke out after a planned republican flute band parade in north Belfast.

A crowd of up to 350 people protested against the march - police said there was "clearly orchestration" behind the disorder, and both sides were involved in the trouble.

© UTV News
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60 Comments
pat in north belfast wrote (777 days ago):
can anybody explain "riots being sanctioned by organisations?"..Are these organisations NOT illegal?..so why would the media suggest this..confused!!!!!!!
sean in donegal wrote (777 days ago):
In response to Danny 04/09.I have no idea who or how parades could be banned,but seems to be that many people on here are of the same opinion.The majority of these parade cause tension and lead to violence.I cant see any other way around this.Be nice to have one year free from parades and lets see what happens after that.
heather in belfast wrote (778 days ago):
rewind !!!! what started this latest spate of rioting ???? oh yes that would be the republican march !!! legal yes for a parade but not the protesters that marched along with them !!!!! no re-routing there then !!!! oh yes and the republican open air concert the previous week !!! no imposing of restrictions there !!! republican songs sang from the stage !!! is there a difference ??? dont think so !!! just the difference that the loyalist people allow themselves to be re-routed and restrictions imposed on them and the republican propaganda machine marches on !!! NO RESTRICTIONS !!!! there comes a time when people have to say enough is enough !! not condoning the violence ,, but it seems all this is all one sided to republicans and they wont be satisfied until the orange culture is completly wiped out !!!!! whatever happened to live and let live and respecting all cultures !!!
Ryan in Belfast wrote (778 days ago):
@ Big Bill, North belfast. Bill, wind your neck in mate and stop deluding yourself. SF is not to blame for this, its the orange parades that are to blame.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (778 days ago):
The only solution to this is banning or completey rerouting parades. This happens every year, especially on the 12th and every year its getting worse. All parades must be rerouted or banned, its as simple as that because someone is going to get killed in these riots, either an innocent civilian, a riotous thug or a police officer. The rioting going on here is obviously planned and organised by Loyalist paramilitaries.
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