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More rioting at Belfast parades

Leaders in Northern Ireland call for a long-term solution to the annual parades, following violence that raged into last night.

Violence broke out in the nationalist area of Ardoyne. Photo: PA

HUNDREDS OF PSNI officers lined the streets of Belfast last night as violence broke out during the 12 July parades.

A total of 27 police officers were reportedly wounded, after being attacked with paint bombs, missiles and stones. One PSNI officer was hospitalised with head injuries.

Violence continued throughout the day and into the night: In Lurgan a group of about 50 youths hurled petrol bombs and stones, in Derry a petrol bomb was thrown at a house in the Irish Street area of the city, and cars were burned out in Armagh.

In Belfast a bus was hijacked in the afternoon by a group of masked men who claimed to have fitted a bomb on board. The driver was instructed to drive the vehilce to Woodbourne PSNI station in western Belfast. Police closed streets as they investigated the threat, however it was later established as a hoax.

The Orange Order was given permission to return home after the march through the nationalist area of Ardoyne, where residents staged a peaceful sit-down protest. However violent demonstrators mixed with the peaceful protesters, throwing bricks, stones and petrol bombs.

Police moved the protesters shortly after 10pm and the march continued.

Shortly after 1.00 am five shots were reportedly fired at a burning police vehicle in Derry. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Leader in Northern Ireland have condemned the acts of violence. Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd described the rioting as “pointless” and PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said that a resolution to the issue of the parades needed to be found once and for all:

“This is the only way we can move away from the disorder, tensions and fear that grips Northern Ireland every year,” he said, “We need to see real joined-up strategic political leadership, backed up by everyone in communities making their peaceful voices heard.”

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