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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Rioters 'intended to kill police'
A cyclist makes his way through burnt out vehicles

Northern Ireland's worst rioting in years left more than 30 police officers injured, the chief constable has said.

Loyalist paramilitaries fired at least 50 live rounds at police and the Army after a disputed Protestant Orange Order parade, Sir Hugh Orde said.

Saturday's rioters in Belfast intended to kill police and it was lucky "we have no dead police officers", he said.

A man, 48, and a 16-year-old have been charged with riotous assembly and resisting arrest over the disturbances.

They are due to appear before in Belfast magistrates on Monday.


On Sunday evening police said they had reports of groups of youths gathered in areas across the city and of vehicles being set alight.

However, BBC Ireland correspondent Denis Murray said that, so far, the disturbances had not been on the scale of the previous night.

On Saturday the security forces fired 450 plastic bullets and seven live rounds. Several people were arrested.

All those with influence in the community, including the Orange Order and unionist politicians, must condemn this violence and give their full support to the PSNI
Peter Hain
NI secretary

A "bomb factory" had been discovered in Belfast and seven firearms recovered, said Sir Hugh.

A major police investigation would now be launched following the events, he said.

About 1,000 police and 1,000 soldiers were deployed to deal with the violence.

Sir Hugh said it was one of the most dangerous riot situations ever faced by officers in the UK.

Police returned live fire after being targeted by automatic weapons.

Loyalist rioters attacked police with homemade bombs, bricks, bottles, petrol bombs, blast bombs, pipe bombs and live rounds.

'Totally unacceptable'

A man injured by a blast bomb is in a critical condition in hospital.

Secretary of State Peter Hain condemned the violence. "Attempted murder cannot in any way be justified," he said. He will meet NI's police chief on Monday.

Mr Hain said the rioting and attacks on the police and Army were totally unacceptable.

"There can be no ambiguity or excuse for breaking the law. All those with influence in the community, including the Orange Order and unionist politicians, must condemn this violence and give their full support to the PSNI."

Man by burning barricade on Belfast's Shankill Road

Sir Hugh said the Orange Order bore substantial responsibility for the rioting and "sustained and violent attack" on his officers.

The Orange Order described his remarks as "inflammatory".

At a news conference in Belfast on Sunday, Sir Hugh said he saw members of the Orange Order attacking PSNI officers.

The violence had been orchestrated and the police response had been proportionate and responsible, he said.

"Petrol bombs don't appear by accident, blast bombs do not appear by accident and certainly firearms have to be planned to be produced in the way they were produced," said Sir Hugh.

The Orange Order parade had "become illegal" and "fundamentally breached" the Parades Commission's determination on several counts, said the chief constable.

Of the 450 plastic baton rounds fired, about 250 were fired by the Army and the remainder by the PSNI, said the chief constable.

The police fired six live rounds and the Army fired one live round at a gunman, he said.

Watch news conference with Sir Hugh Orde

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