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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 21 March, 2019
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Police knocked unconscious by rioters 'wielding swords and missiles' in Belfast

One officer has a suspected broken jaw and a number of people have been arrested.

(Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

OVER 30 POLICE officers and an MP in Northern Ireland have been injured in six hours of rioting in Belfast overnight.

The riots kicked off when police stopped an Orange Order march for the traditional Twelfth of July commemorations from passing through the nationalist area of Ardoyne.

Police said that officers in North Belfast were attacked by individuals “wielding swords and missiles, including heavy masonry, golf balls, bottles and fireworks”. Four officers were taken to hospital for treatment to injuries in this area, three having been knocked unconscious. Another officer sustained head and leg injuries.

Police also confirmed that a missile thrown at police lines in North Belfast struck DUP MP Nigel Dodds, who is also understood to have been knocked unconscious.

Police knocked unconscious by rioters 'wielding swords and missiles' in Belfast
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  • Riots in Belfast

    PSNI in riot gear move into position to escort Orange feeder parade past the Ardoyne shops, in Belfast (Paul Faith/PA)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    PSNI Police in full riot gear stop the parade from passing the Ardoyne shops (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    An injured PSNI Police officer in full riot gear as they stop the filter parade (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    Democratic Unionist Party MP Nigel Dodds, prior to being injured after loyalists clashed police in North Belfast (Paul Faith/PA)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    Police help a injured collegue after being attacked by Loyalists (Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    PSNI Police in full riot gear stop the filter parade which resulted in rioting (Julien Behal/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    Police use a water canon as Loyalists confront them in north Belfast (Image:Paul Faith/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    An injured police officer after being attacked by loyalist's close (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
  • Riots in Belfast

    An injured Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer is helped by colleagues (Image: Paul Faith/PA)
  • Riots in Belfast

    Loyalists confront police in north Belfast (Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire)
  • Riots in Belfast

    (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
  • Riots in Belfast

    Riot police hold their line during rioting in North Belfast (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

In East Belfast, a total of 12 officers were injured after being attacked and targeted with missiles and petrol bombs. A Mutial Aid officer sustained a broken leg while a PSNI officer has a suspected broken jaw. Water cannons were deployed to try to push back the rioters.

Six people were arrested in the area for offences ranging from disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest to assault. A 39-year-old male was also arrested for “doing a provocative act”.

A video, released by the police cervice, shows the kind of violence officers were faced with:

(Video: Police ServiceNI/YouTube)

Today Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore condemned the violence and “disrespect for the rule of law” which he said was an affront to the decent people of the city.

“We are at one in our commitment and determination to uphold the law and support the police,” he said. “Our thoughts in particular are with those who were injured upholding the peace.”

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