14 July 2005

Orange DisOrder


As Orangemen celebrated the Twelfth, accompanying violence and disruption spilled onto the streets throughout the North.

* Sexual Assault at Bonfire

At an Eleventh night bonfire in North Down a woman was subjected to what the PSNI have described as a ‘serious sexual assault’. The 30-year-old was attacked some time between midnight and 3.00am at the fire at Clandeboye Road in Bangor.

The PSNI said that there was a large crowd at the bonfire. The attacker was wearing a red T-shirt and had either gelled or greased hair.

* Bonfire Causes Gas Explosion

A Chinese takeaway food business was destroyed as an Eleventh night bonfire ruptured a gas pipeline. The three-storey building in Dromore Street off Cregagh Road was gutted when the gas was ignited by the bonfire which was built in the middle of the street.
As a result of the gas pipe blaze, the Chinese family were left homeless and thirty homes in East Belfast were evacuated. Phoenix Gas engineers were required to attend the scene on the Twelfth to try to carry out repairs on the hazardous leak.

*Firemen Attacked by Loyalists

Firefighters were attacked by stone throwers in eleven separate incidents as they dealt with more than 500 call-outs over the Eleventh and Twelfth. Seventy of the call-outs were bonfire-related on the Eleventh night. Much to the disappointment of the Divisional Officer Graham Crossett, the figures are very similar to last year. “The Fire and Rescue Service are there to serve all sections of the community and it makes our job much more difficult when we come under such attacks,” said Mr Crossett.

*PSNI Attacked by Loyalists

Two PSNI officers were assaulted as they assisted a man who was being savagely attacked by a crowd at an Eleventh night bonfire in the east of the city.
During the violent attacks at Woodstock Link two officers were hurt and one had his gun and radio stolen after they were flagged down and asked to help a man who was being beaten up. The loyalist crowd outnumbered and set upon the officers. Extra PSNI were brought into the area to restore calm early on Tuesday morning. The weapon was later recovered but the PSNI did not release any details about how it was retrieved.

* UVF Show of Strength
A group of masked men claiming to be members of UVF attended a bonfire in the lower Newtownards Road area of East Belfast. The bonfire was at Pitt Park where the organisers received £2,500 sponsorship from Belfast City Council under a scheme intended to maintain control over the event.

The UVF party showed up wearing military style clothing and balaclavas and mounted a stage to address the crowd gathered at the event about the ongoing feud with loyalist rivals, the LVF. They said that they would “wipe out” the LVF and fired a volley of shots.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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