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The BBC's Denis Murray
"The protests were by and large peaceful, but uncompromising"
 real 28k

Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson
"It is completely unacceptable behaviour"
 real 28k

Gerry Douglas, Orange Order Grand Master
"This is the only thing left open to them"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 01:13 GMT 02:13 UK
Protests grip Northern Ireland
Belfasts' Shankill Road deserted as the protests began
Belfasts' Shankill Road deserted as the protests began
There have been widespread disturbances in Northern Ireland amid protests by Loyalists against restrictions on the Orange Order march at Drumcree.

Loyalists supporting a march down Portadown's mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road erected at least 125 major road blocks - leaving cities, towns and villages deserted.

The province is now relatively quiet and the RUC says most roads have now been cleared, although there are still sporadic incidents of car hijacking and stone throwing.

A water cannon had to be deployed against rioters in Portadown, where protests continued for some hours.

There have also been reports of a petrol bomb attack on an Orange Hall at Aghalee, near Lough Neagh.

Reported incidents
125 main roads blocked
Stand-offs in Portadown and Lurgan
Public transport disrupted

Witnesses say four men wearing balaclavas drove up and threw three petrol bombs into the hall, though there was little damage.

Three men who suffered minor injuries in the attack just after midnight are being treated in hospital.

Earlier, loyalist protestors lit a fire against a barricade at Drumcree and tried to pull razor wire from the top.

Most street demonstrations carried on late into Monday night despite the official end of the protest called by the Portadown Orangemen at the centre of the Protestant marching season's most controversial parade.

Click here for a list of areas hit by protests

In Lurgan, County Armagh, police officers clad in full riot gear were forced to prevent a confrontation between loyalists and nationalists.

Johnny Adair spotted at the Belfast protests
Johnny Adair: Former UFF commander spotted

The RUC have also confirmed that a priest's house in Bangor suffered minor damage in an attack.

Shortly before 2000 BST, bus and train operators said public transport was "almost completely at a halt".

By 1500BST almost all Belfast shops and businesses had closed. Ninety minutes later one of the city's main arterial routes, the Ormeau Road, was blocked as a heavy police presence on the nationalist side of the Ormeau Bridge prevented potential clashes.

Loyalist youths were reported throwing stones into the Catholic Falls Road area and former UFF loyalist paramilitary commander Johnny Adair was also spotted at a protest.

Violence "morally wrong"

Portadown Orange Lodge leaders called for the protest after more than 1,000 members marched to within inches of the massive security cordon blocking their route at Drumcree on Sunday.

To those who have or would engage in violence we can only say stop

Grand Orange Lodge statement
They have predicted that "sporadic and intermittent" protests will continue on Tuesday and have refused to condemn any violence - saying that responsibility for disturbances would lie with the government.

Speaking two hours after the protests began, David Jones, spokesman for the Portadown lodge, said that he was pleased with the turn-out.

But in its statement released before the start of the protest, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said that any violence was "morally wrong" and would damage "the legitimate cause" of the Portadown District lodge.

The world is seeing Northern Ireland as a terrible place and hardly worthy of doing business with

Bill Jeffrey, small businesses spokesman

The Orange Order has used a similar mass protest tactic over the Drumcree dispute twice in the past 10 years.

In 1995 they marched down Garvaghy Road following a compromise. In 1996 they succeeded in changing the determination after loyalists stretched security forces to the limit.

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See also:

10 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Where the protests are
10 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Trimble rejects assembly recall
10 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Picture gallery: Loyalist protests
08 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Drumcree: The route of the march
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