Northern Ireland

Nine police officers hurt at Belfast parade flashpoint

Bottles, bricks and metal bolts have been thrown at police Image copyright Kevin Scott / Presseye
Image caption Bottles, bricks and metal bolts were thrown at police

Nine police officers have been injured during violence in north Belfast.

A 16-year-old girl was also hurt after she was struck by an out-of-control car.

Missiles were thrown on the Woodvale Road and Crumlin Road as police enforced a parade restriction.

The Orange Order was barred from walking along a stretch of the Crumlin Road that separates unionist and nationalist communities on its return from an annual celebration.

Within minutes of the parade reaching police lines, empty bottles, bricks and metal bolts were thrown at police.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption A teenager was struck by a car and was taken to hospital

The Orange lodges and accompanying bands were returning from a parade to commemorate the victory of the Protestant King William III at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The trouble began at about 19:30 BST on Monday.

But it escalated after a car struck several pedestrians at the nearby Ardoyne shops.

It happened as a crowd of nationalists gathered on the Crumlin Road.

The vehicle trapped the girl underneath and was lifted off by police and members of the public.

She was treated by paramedics at the scene and taken to hospital.

A man was taken away by police for his own safety.

Police said two officers were hurt as they dealt with that incident.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionChris Buckler reports from near the flashpoint in Belfast

Trapped

Fr Gary Donegan, of Holy Cross Catholic Church, who was at the scene, told the BBC that a driver "panicked" and drove into a crowd, injuring three people.

He said that a girl had been trapped under the car and suffered head and neck injuries.

"The car hit a number of pedestrians and, in the case of this 16 year old, the car went right over the top of her.

"PSNI officers and local residents managed to lift the car off her. There were graphic scenes of seeing her feet sticking out from underneath the car.

"You could actually see the marks of the vehicle on the back of her jeans. She was very distressed."

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the girl had been injured but it was not life-threatening. He said the teenager was trapped under the vehicle after it mounted the kerb. She was later freed by police officers and people in the area, before being taken to hospital.

Mr Kelly appealed for calm.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption There was a heavy police presence in north Belfast
Image caption The situation in north Belfast remained tense overnight
Image copyright Kevin Scott / Presseye
Image caption Water cannon was used by police
Image copyright Kevin Scott / Presseye
Image caption A loyalist supporter on the Woodvale Road in north Belfast
Image caption There was a heavy security presence on the Woodvale Road
Image caption Riot police were on patrol monitoring the situation
Image caption The Orange Order has been barred from parading along a stretch of the Crumlin Road in north Belfast that separates unionist and nationalist communities, on its return from the commemorations
Image copyright Kevin Scott / Presseye
Image caption On the other side of the police lines, on the Crumlin Road, a teenager was injured in an incident involving a car
Image copyright Kevin Scott / Presseye
Image caption An ambulance attended the scene on the Crumlin Road

The violence followed a day of largely peaceful 12 July loyal order parades across Northern Ireland.

First Minister Peter Robinson condemned the violence.

"The PSNI is tasked with upholding the rule of law and it is vital that those involved in such riotous activity cease and are held accountable. They do a massive disservice to the wider cause they claim to support," the DUP leader said.

"My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been injured whilst serving the public, as well as the young girl who has been injured in a vehicle collision."

Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, described the attacks on police as "disgraceful".

"Those responsible do nothing to further the cause they claim to promote," she said. "They damage Northern Ireland and wreck a day which should be about respectful celebration of cultural tradition."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, DUP, said there was a "severe problem in relation to community relations and respect for law and order".

"The way forward is to recognise the failures of the past cannot be repeated and a new way forward for parading and protesting is badly needed," he said.

The Orange Order also condemned those engaging in violence and issued an appeal for calm.

"Those involved in violence should desist," a Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland spokesman said.

"It is not only counterproductive but also plain wrong.

"Such actions are only strengthening the hand of those who wish to further curtail our parades."

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis, said the police and members of the public, had "endured unacceptable levels of violence and disorder".

More on this story