Published Sunday, 02 September 2012
An injured police officer is tended to by a colleague at Carlisle Circus. (© Pacemaker)
Bricks, bottles, stones, fireworks and golf balls were hurled at police in riot gear in the Carlisle Circus, Clifton Street and Antrim Road areas of the city on Sunday after a loyalist crowd gathered to protest at the march organised by the Henry Joy McCracken Republican Flute Band.
Three officers who were hurt during the disorder have been taken to hospital for treatment.
Motorists have been advised to avoid the area and diversions are in place.
A heavy police presence remained at the scene as trouble continued on Sunday night.
Earlier the water cannon was deployed to deter attacks on police.
Chief Superintendent George Clarke said: "My officers are continuing to deal with significant but localised disorder in the Carlisle Circus and Clifton Street area."
"At least 26 officers have been injured, with three of them taken to hospital."
At the scene on Sunday afternoon, UTV's Sharon O'Neill said trouble was "sporadic".
She said people in a nearby care home looked on "in disbelief at what's going on in Carlisle Circus".
I'm urging all individuals and communities affected to take a step back. Violence has serious and unwanted consequences for all of us.
Chief Superintendent George Clarke
Up to 300 people and two bands, accompanied by 100 supporters, were expected to take part in the march from Duncairn Parade in the New Lodge area to the Clifton Street Cemetery at Henry Place
In a statement, parade organisers, the Republic Network for Unity (RNU), claimed that marchers came under "a sustained attack" from loyalist protesters at Henry Street.
"Republicans were showered with a barrage of bricks, stones, golf balls and bottles," the statement continued.
The republican group claimed that before the trouble erupted the march had passed peacefully through the New Lodge, North Queen Street and Carrickhill areas.
They say they "understand that some local youths retaliated against the loyalist attack", adding they "will do all that we can to help ease any tensions in the area."
Tensions have simmered after trouble erupted close to a Catholic church on nearby Donegall Street last week.
Seven police officers were injured during disorder at the Royal Black Institution parade on Saturday 25 August.
Earlier that day, a loyalist band defied a Parades Commission ban to march past St Patrick's Church.
The Young Conway Volunteers were banned by the watchdog after they were filmed playing a song alleged to be sectarian outside the church on the Twelfth of July.
Meanwhile, the Orange Order has condemned an attack on the Clifton Street Orange Hall on Sunday, which they say was carried out "by a large crowd".
County Master Tom Haire said: "I condemn those who took part in this dastardly attack, unfortunately it is the outworking of those whose hatred and intolerance of all things Protestant and British is manifested in the campaign against traditional parades."
He said there was "no justification for the attack."
Organisers say last year's parade passed off without incident.
© UTV News