Published Monday, 03 September 2012
Violence broke out at a republican parade in north Belfast on Sunday. (© Pacemaker)
North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has called for Loyal Orders to find a resolution to contentious parades after he blamed the loyalist paramilitary group for orchestrating trouble in the Carlisle Circus, Clifton Street and Antrim Road areas on Sunday.
A total of 47 officers were injured during the trouble after a loyalist crowd of up to 350 people gathered to protest at a march organised by a republican flute band.
Mr Kelly claimed that the parade was "deliberately made contentious".
"There was clearly a well-planned and orchestrated attempt yesterday to further heighten tensions in North Belfast around parading and it was in my view planned and orchestrated by the UVF," the Sinn Féin representative said.
"It seems that loyalists have become the spokespersons for the Loyal Orders when it comes to parading issues in North Belfast. If we are to find a sensible resolution to contentious parades this needs to change."
PUP leader Billy Hutchinson has asked the North Belfast MLA to retract his "irresponsible and false comments" that the UVF had organised the violence.
He said: "I just don't know where he got this from. I can categorically state that there was no involvement from the UVF in any way in this violence. The UVF are committed to the principles of the Good Friday agreement.
"Mr Kelly is trying to use a misguided logic that, because some of those involved in the trouble last night were perceived to be from loyalist backgrounds, that the UVF were responsible in orchestrating it. Does this same logic then apply to the July violence in Ardoyne?
"Were mainstream republicans responsible for igniting this violence from the IRA/INLA?"
Over 30 petrol bombs, hundreds of fireworks and pieces of masonry were thrown at police lines on Sunday. The PSNI responded by deploying water cannons in Denmark Street and Antrim Road but no baton rounds were fired.
The trouble lasted for up to 10 hours.
Chief Supt George Clarke said there was "no doubt" the violence was organised, but added that it was too early to say if paramilitaries were involved.
"Three hundred people on Clifton Street, masonry broken up by people using concrete saws - there's no doubt about orchestration," he said.
"But I'm not going to stand here and tell you I believe an organisation was involved - it's frankly too early to say that."
© UTV News