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Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
CCTV cameras damaged
Two security cameras were damaged in attack
Closed circuit television security cameras have been damaged in east Belfast.

The attacks took place in sectarian interface areas at Madrid Street and Albertbridge Road on Wednesday night.

East Belfast Democratic Unionist councillor Robin Newton blamed republicans from the Short Strand area, claiming they wanted to carry out attacks on Protestants without being caught.

Police seized more than 20 petrol bombs and bottles filled with paint in a follow-up operation.

PUP leader David Ervine
David Ervine: Nothing to fear from cameras
The cameras were put in place after serious sectarian clashes in the area.

Sinn Fein has said it believes the cameras at interface areas were put in place to spy on Catholics.

Both Catholic and Protestant communities have previously blamed each other for starting trouble, which has led to houses being destroyed on both sides of the so-called peace line.

Many families on each side have moved out following repeated attacks with pipe and petrol bombs.

The police have said the cameras are there for the benefit of the whole community but people living on the nationalist side of the divide are not convinced.

"They say the cameras are on 24 hours a day but 24 hours a day our homes are coming under constant attack," said Short Strand resident Joanie O'Donnell.

"Our cars and our children are still getting abused in the street by bricks and bottles."

'Nothing to fear'

The leader of the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party, David Ervine, said the cameras were in place for a good reason

"The unionist community's attitude to the cameras is, if you're doing no harm then the cameras will do you no harm," he said.

"But it seems that the damage to the cameras is sinister so people interpret that is therefore that bad behaviour can occur and not be recorded."

A camera is replaced by contractors working under police protection
One camera was replaced under police protection

Meanwhile, the police have recovered bottles and other items during separate operations in north Belfast on Thursday.

Several hundred empty bottles were discovered during a search in the Serpentine Road area.

Police said containers with paint were also found. The items were discovered in a bin.

Meanwhile, eight crates of empty bottles were recovered by police at the rear of premises in the Mountainview Parade area of north Belfast.

A police spokesman appealed to community leaders to help ensure their areas remain calm over the 12 July period.

The Twelfth parades celebrate the most important date in the Orange Order's calendar - the 1690 defeat of Catholic King James by Protestant Prince William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne.

Shots were fired at a CCTV camera in another interface area of Belfast 24 hours earlier.

Tyres were also piled around the base of the camera and set alight at Estoril Park, near the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast, on Tuesday night.

A controversial Orange feeder parade will pass close to the nationalist Ardoyne area on Friday for the Twelfth commemoration.

Trouble broke out there after the march passed on its return route last year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julia Paul:
"Police say the cameras are there for the benefit of the whole community"
BBC NI's Kevin Sharkey:
"Police have appealed to community leaders for calm"
Find out more about the Drumcree dispute in Northern Ireland

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10 Jul 02 | N Ireland
08 Jul 02 | N Ireland
12 Jul 01 | N Ireland
11 Jul 01 | N Ireland
12 Jul 00 | N Ireland
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