Belfast police clash with rioters

Police have used water cannon after coming under attack in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. Pic Credit: Arthur Allison

Police fired baton rounds at rioters as fresh trouble erupted in Belfast tonight.

Petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and fireworks were hurled at officers during the stand-off in Ardoyne in north Belfast. A car was hijacked and set alight. Police water cannons were deployed.

The trouble followed a nationalist protest march held to coincide with an Orange Order parade through the sectarian interface following the Twelfth commemorations.

Ardoyne has been the scene of serious trouble in the past between police and nationalists following similar loyal order parades. It is a working-class residential area of mainly terraced housing.

The water cannon was also used to extinguish a fire on a shop roof tonight.

A large crowd of loyalists gathered nearby. The parade passed peacefully past Ardoyne shops and there was a silent protest by nationalist residents.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “Shortly before 7pm this evening a number of missiles, including bricks and masonry, were thrown at police in the Estorial Park area.”

She said three baton rounds were discharged by officers. Fireworks were also used by rioters.

Police remain in the area and are working to restore calm.

Today’s Twelfth of July celebrations by Orangemen involved tens of thousands of members of the loyal orders walking the streets to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory of a Protestant over a Catholic monarch.

Last night, violence broke out in the nationalist areas of Broadway, Old Park and North Queen Street in the west of the city and continued through the early hours of this morning. More than 40 petrol bombs were thrown.

Police used water cannon and fired baton rounds to try to disperse crowds of between 100 and 200 people who began throwing stones and missiles at police lines in the Broadway area of the city. A total of 51 rounds were used.

A number of vehicles were reportedly hijacked, with a motorbike and at least one van set on fire, according to police.

Petrol bombs and beer bottles have been raining down on police lines.

There are hundreds of officers and dozens of armoured vehicles in a relatively confined residential area.

Dozens of young rioters in masks face them and are attempting to gain ground. Police continue to use baton rounds.

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