[QODLink]
Europe
Sectarian violence in Belfast continues
Clashes between police and mobs have left dozens injured after protests over march held by Catholic group.
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2012 16:26
Protests in the north of the divided city have turned violent, resulting in injuries and arrests [GALLO/GETTY]

Seven people have been arrested in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, after at least 15 police officers were wounded in sectarian rioting.

Amid a rain of petrol bombs and rocks, a van was hijacked and driven into police lines on Monday night, after about 300 Protestant loyalists gathered to protest against a parade held on Sunday by a republican flute band from a nearby Catholic community.

Author Eamonn Mallie offers
analysis of the latest violence

Some 47 people - mostly police - had been hurt in clashes on Sunday.

Police shot plastic bullets and water cannon in an attempt to disperse the crowds who had gathered, as unrest grew over competing marches held by Protestant and Catholic groups.

More than 100 masked, hooded Protestants threw bottles, bricks and fireworks at police lines on Sunday night, the AP news agency reported.

Police commander Matt Baggott said his officers demonstrated "courage and restraint", while Terry Spence, of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, said that "their bravery and courage is in stark contrast to that of the cowardly thugs responsible for trying to murder them".

Sunday night's violence came as Irish republicans from a Catholic area of the community paraded near Protestant districts of north Belfast, where residents traditionally identify with the British crown.

Protestant groups had previously been prohibited from marching in the area, and many were reportedly frustrated with a lack of restrictions placed on the Catholic band.

The annual marches held every summer have frequently resulted in flaring unrest, though violence has been limited in recent years.

Northern Irish politicians have claimed that the latest violence had been sustained by loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association, though loyalist sources have vehemently denied  these claims.

336

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list