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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 22:39 GMT
Security cameras for riot area
Belfast riot
Police came under attack for two nights running
Security cameras are to be installed in a part of north Belfast which has seen two nights of sectarian clashes between Catholics and Protestants.

The Northern Ireland Office confirmed on Friday that a temporary CCTV system would be set up in Ardoyne next week to help police identify disturbances at an early stage.

Serious rioting on Thursday night left 31 police officers and three soldiers injured.

Security Minister Jane Kennedy said the system would be established in the Everton Complex on the Crumlin Road.

Meanwhile, the security forces were on patrol in the Ardoyne area of the city on Friday night where a number of homes were attacked.

Normality

However, the incidents were on a much lesser scale than the previous nights' trouble.

Two Protestant-owned homes were attacked at Twaddell Avenue, off the Crumlin Road, by youths throwing stones.

Later, a hammer was thrown through the bedroom window of a house on the Crumlin Road as a Catholic man in his 60s watched television. He was showered with glass.


This was never a dispute this week about Holy Cross

Billy Hutchinson

Earlier, school life in north Belfast returned to normal following two nights of rioting.

Clashes between nationalists and loyalists had affected a number of schools in the Ardoyne, Ballysillan and Ligoneil areas.

However, children and parents made their way to and from the schools peacefully on Friday, despite the earlier violence.

Catholic parents and children made their way to Holy Cross Girls primary school through the Protestant Glenbryn area amid tight security.

But there was no resumption of a protest by loyalist residents which lasted for 12 weeks last year.

Click here for a map of where the rioting took place

North Belfast Progressive Unionist assembly member Billy Hutchinson said fears that the loyalist protest would resume were unfounded.

"This was never a dispute this week about Holy Cross.

"It was a sectarian attack from nationalists into a loyalist community and, all of a sudden, the school and the media decided to turn it into a Holy Cross dispute," he said.

School disruption

The school had closed for the day on Thursday after trouble erupted in the area.

On Thursday morning, a group of men entered Our Lady of Mercy Catholic secondary school and smashed 20 vehicles in the car park as pupils looked on.

Nearby, pupils at the Boys' and Girls' Model secondary schools had to be taken home in police Land Rovers over concerns for their safety.

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland visited the Boys' and Girls' Model schools on Friday.

riot scene
Cars were set alight in the street by rioters

Dr Alistair Dunlop said life in the area had to continue as normal.

Education Minister Martin McGuinness called on politicians and community leaders to support teachers in north Belfast.

He was speaking after a meeting with the Belfast Education and Library Board and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.

Mr McGuinness said it was "absolutely essential that everything is done to prevent a repeat of this week's violent scenes".

"Our teachers are performing a very difficult job in extremely difficult circumstances which are made much worse by these ongoing disgraceful scenes on our streets," he said.

Nigel Dodds: Discussed situation with senior police
Nigel Dodds: Discussed situation with senior police

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he hoped a community forum proposed last year, which has not yet formally met, could help solve the problem.

He met Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan on Friday afternoon to discuss the situation.

Mr Dodds said he was hopeful that the current outbreak of violence would soon end.

Brendan Mailey, of the Catholic Right to Education Group, said the absence of a protest at Holy Cross could help defuse the situation.

Anne Bill, a spokeswoman for the Loyalist Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne, said there were positive signs.

Pitched battles

Nationalist and loyalist communities have blamed each other for the two nights of rioting, but youths from both sides were out in force.

On Thursday night, hundreds of nationalist and loyalist youths confronted security forces, launching waves of attacks with petrol bombs, fireworks, bottles and blast bombs.

Police fired seven plastic bullets at the crowds during pitched battles in Ardoyne.

Nearby, about 60 loyalists confronted troops at Twaddell Avenue where a soldier was injured by an acid bomb.

He was treated at the scene and returned to duty shortly afterwards. One police officer was kept in hospital overnight after suffering concussion but was later discharged.

Meanwhile, rioters from both sides clashed in the Whitewell area of north Belfast as police were dealing with the trouble in Ardoyne.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions met senior police officers on Friday to discuss the school attacks.

Spokesman Tom Gillen said ICTU would also be meeting with members of the teaching and other public sector unions next week.

Back to the story
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Annita McVeigh
"In North Belfast there is no such thing as a routine day"
SDLP deputy leader Brid Rogers
"There is the potential for stability"
Ruth Leitch, educational psychologist
"(In the past) schools have been viewed by children and adults and teachers alike as a safe haven"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
NI riots
Are children being used as political pawns?
See also:

10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
School talks follow riots
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Cars attacked at Catholic school
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Footpath row 'led to riots'
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
North Belfast's streets of hatred
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Q&A: Violence in north Belfast
09 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Rioting follows NI school dispute
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Head to Head: Riots in Ardoyne Road
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