16 December 2005

‘Remarkable’ no one was killed in riots after Orange parades

Daily Ireland

Policing Board urged to investigate two incidents of alleged police brutality

Human rights advisers have said it is “remarkable” no one was killed during intense rioting following two Orange Order marches in Belfast earlier in the year.
A report published yesterday focusing on violent parades at Ardoyne on July 12, and on the Springfield Road on September 10, ruled that the PSNI was justified in firing nearly 260 plastic bullets.
However, human rights advisers to the Policing Board did call on Chief Constable Hugh Orde to investigate two alleged incidents of PSNI brutality.
In images captured on camera officers are seen kicking and beating men in two separate incidents on the loyalist Shankill Road.
Other recommendations include the PSNI obtaining modern screening equipment to keep rival factions apart, and ensuring all officers wear identification numbers.
During both riots the PSNI fired close to 260 plastic bullets and used water cannons extensively. The British army fired five live rounds and 140 plastic bullets.
The report found that in Ardoyne nationalists threw blast and petrol bombs at the PSNI, while on the Springfield Road officers had 150 live rounds fired at them by loyalists along with hundreds of blast and petrol bombs.
Commenting on the disturbances lawyers Keir Stamer and Jane Gordon said: “That no one was killed and that there were so few serious injuries to police officers, the military or members of the public is remarkable.”
SDLP South Down MP and chairman of the Human Rights and Professional Standings Committee, Eddie McGrady, said: “The board, as part of its role in monitoring complaints against the police will be consulting the Police Ombudsman regarding complaints made following both the Ardoyne and Whiterock parades and any major policy issues arising.
“The Police Ombudsman will also investigate and report on the firing of all AEP impact rounds [plastic bullets] and these reports will be sent to the board in due course."
Chairman of the Policing Board, Professor Des Rea, believes the violence on the streets after both parades was among the worst witnessed in years.
“We cannot afford a rerun of what happened this year next year,” he added.

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