17 June 2005


Petrol bombs follow march trouble

Petrol bombs have been thrown and at least one police officer injured during trouble at an Orange Order parade in north Belfast, police have said.

Stones were thrown at marchers by nationalists on the return leg of the Tour of the North parade as they passed a flashpoint area at Ardoyne.

Two water cannon were deployed, but a number of marchers have been hurt.

Earlier, police said they had put in place a significant security operation, but hoped the march would be peaceful.

However, trouble flared at about 2100 BST as three lodges, followed by supporters, went past Ardoyne shops where nationalists had gathered to protest the march.

Marchers had been separated from the protesters by a corridor of about 60 Land Rovers and police in riot gear, but were still pelted with missiles, including bottles, bricks and golf balls.

There were further clashes between police and protesters and the water cannon were deployed. A number of petrol bombs were then thrown.

Police have now pulled out towards the junction of the Crumlin Road and debris has been left scattered on the street.

"Police will study CCTV footage gathered at the scene and those breaking the law will be reported for prosecution," a police spokesman said.

The march was the first to be affected by an extension of the law governing the behaviour of parade supporters.

It gave police wider powers to control the movement and behaviour of parade followers at flashpoint areas.

The Tour of the North is among the first of a series of parades by Protestant Orangemen which culminates in the biggest demonstrations on 12 July.

A ruling by the Parades Commission restricted nationalist protesters to the footpath outside the Ardoyne shops and loyalists supporters also face restrictions, following conflict at a parade last July.

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