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Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Violence flares after Belfast parades
Violence in west Belfast
Police fired a numer of baton rounds
Twenty police officers have been injured during violent clashes following Orange Order parades in Northern Ireland.

The worst clashes were in west Belfast, where officers were injured by missiles hurled by nationalist demonstrators on Friday evening.

Up to 100 petrol bombs were thrown and police fired more than 20 baton rounds.

However, police said Friday's parades passed off relatively peacefully - compared with previous years.


In one sense I'm absolutely delighted that things passed off as peacefully as they have

Alan McQuillan
PSNI

Security chiefs had anticipated violence on the return journey of the Orange Order's parade on the Springfield Road.

Serious rioting broke out in the area, with several hundred people facing police at Lanark Way, throwing bricks and fireworks.

Police came under petrol bomb attacks and 26 baton rounds were discharged.

Sinn Fein councillor Tom Hartley said the police response to the nationalist protest had been "heavy-handed".

"It was easy to see by the large number of police and British military vehicles that they had made up their minds to attack," he said.

There were some minor disturbances as a parade passed through a disputed route in Ardoyne in north Belfast, with bottles and stones thrown after loyalist supporters accompanying the Orange Lodges and bands taunted a large crowd of nationalist protestors.

Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein and police Supt David Boultwood
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly and local police chief supervised earlier protest

Belfast's most senior police officer Alan McQuillan said senior republicans had stopped violence during a nationalist protest in Ardoyne.

However, he said he was disappointed that the Springfield Road march was marred by violence.

"In one sense I am absolutely delighted that things passed off as peacefully as they have," he said.

Request

"Last night we put out a very dire warning about what we believed was going to happen in Ardoyne.

"I believe that we were right to put that warning out and I hope that has made a major contribution by bringing pressure to bear on key people to stop the violence that was planned."

On Thursday, the Parades Commission rejected a request from Sinn Fein to review its decisions on two Orange Order parades in Belfast on Friday.

The commission said not enough extra information was provided to justify a review of the marches on the Springfield and Crumlin Roads.

There were disputes over a number of parades in Belfast on Friday - the Twelfth of July - which is the biggest day in the Protestant marching season calendar.

In Ballymena, County Antrim, the police were attacked by a group of about 200 people protesting against an Orange parade in the town.

On the parade's return, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at police by a group of more than 50 nationalists.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Denis Murray
"Trouble had been feared on this biggest day of the Protestant marching season"
BBC NI's Alex Fielding
"The police said they believed they were to be rained down onto police and civilians in the street below"
BBC NI's Noreen Erskine
"The clashes turned into running battles"
Find out more about the Drumcree dispute in Northern Ireland

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12 Jul 02 | N Ireland
12 Jul 02 | N Ireland
12 Jul 02 | N Ireland
12 Jul 02 | N Ireland
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