PSNI officers hurt in parade disorder

Published Saturday, 25 August 2012
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Seven police officers have been injured during outbreaks of disorder at the Royal Black Institution parade in Belfast.

PSNI officers hurt in parade disorder
PSNI officers are injured in disorder at a Black Saturday parade (© Pacemaker)

A female officer was taken to hospital and treated for minor head injuries after disorder broke out in the Donegall Street area following the parade on Saturday.

Police officers in riot gear held back protesters who threw missiles, including bottles and stones.

Earlier a loyalist band defied a Parades Commission ban to march past a Catholic Church in the area.

The Young Conway Volunteers were banned from marching past St Patrick's Church where they were filmed playing a song alleged to be sectarian on the Twelfth of July.

At the time the band insisted that the location was purely coincidental and that the song they played was the Beach Boys hit Sloop John B.

Other bands taking part in the Royal Black Institution parade on Saturday also breached the Parades Commission determination, which only permitted a single drumbeat to be played between the junction of Clifton Street and Trinity Street and the junction of Union Street and Donegall Street.

The PSNI said a "significant number of people" again breached the Parades Commission determination on the return route, which passed off peacefully.

In a statement, police said the breaches were "potentially unlawful" but constituted a "peaceful protest against the Parades Commission determination". They said additional resources will be allocated to their investigation.

It is our assessment that there have been breaches of the Parades Commission determination and I can assure everyone that we will be working to bring those believed to have breached it before the courts.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones

The Parades Commission said restrictions were placed due to the "negative impact" the incident in July had had "on community relations in the area".

"In the absence of local agreement the Parades Commission has reached a fair and balanced decision, both recognising the right to parade and considering the impact upon community relations," a spokesperson said on Saturday.

"Any breach of the determination will be a matter for the police to investigate and they may refer it to the Public Prosecution Service," he added.

"The Commission will also take into account any breaches of determinations, or behaviour not in keeping with the Code of Conduct when considering future parades."

The Black Institution says the decision of the Parades Commission to curtail the parade led to the problems.

On Friday, the City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter had called for Saturday's parade to pass off peacefully and without violence, "in spite of the Commission's incompetence and interference".

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds has blamed republican protesters for the disorder.

"The republican attack on, and incursion into, the parade, which resulted in a skirmish and the injuring of police officers are to be deplored and condemned," he said.

"There was severe provocation and taunting of Royal Black Preceptory members and band members by republican protesters, including the use of obscene language and gestures and the throwing of missiles."

Earlier North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín called on Mr Dodds to condemn the breaches of the Parades Commission determination by the bands.

She said: "The situation arose this morning because of blatant sectarian and provocative behaviour by a loyalist band outside St Patrick's Church in July. The determination set by the Parades Commission was not adhered to today and we had a situation where there was a continuous stream of sectarian displays outside the church by the bands involved."

The Royal Black Institution held parades across six locations for its annual event. Over 30 bands took part in the demonstration in Belfast on Saturday.

© UTV News
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93 Comments
Telling it straight in Belfast wrote (735 days ago):
As a unionist I was disgusted at the behaviour of the bands in this parade who appeared to go out of their way to give offence to the local community and their place of worship. Nothing has beeen learnt by the loyal orders. . remember when the parade on the Ormeau Road goaded the local community with gestures after the murders in the bookmakers, end result. . no more parades pass down that route. . hardly surprising. To get respect for their marching culture the loyal orders must show respect, simple as.As usual it was the police getting hurt and taking the flack for the unreasonable behaviour of bigots.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (735 days ago):
The bands are simply not welcome, they are cleary sectarian and not only that, they play awful music. At the very least they could play some decent music. Their disobeying of the Parades Commission should be reason enough to completey ban these parades from passing St.Patricks Church. Another thing too, why didnt the police stop these bands, knowing they were breaking the Parades Commissions ruling?
Einstein in BELFAST wrote (735 days ago):
"Our willie in East Antrim wrote (2 days ago): End racist attacks on ulster scots now!!" Yes! Couldn't agree more! Lets end these Racist attacks by British Unionists on all Ulster Scots now! (Scot - Latin word meaning "Irish").
Mark in Belfast wrote (735 days ago):
Its obvious that all these pathetic nationalist protests at these parades is an attempt to provoke loyalists into violence by trying to control & intimidate them. Republicans will always find something insignificant to take offence at.
jim in s'land wrote (735 days ago):
@ex pat in South Africa...very stirring comment to make from so far away..'Walk on, walk on' You certainly walked on, if you'd walked any further you'd be in Antarctica. Maybe watching sectarian hatred tear a country apart is more fun when you're ten thousand miles away?
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