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Bricks and Molotovs hurled in street riots

THESE were the scenes of hate and violence as Nationalist rioters trying to disrupt Orange parades clashed with police.

Police and politicians accused dissident republicans of orchestrating the violence following marches by the Orange Order.

And one man was shown bloodied and injured as the trouble erupted.

The violence began in Belfast's Ardoyne, where about 100 demonstrators tried to block a parade route while masked men and youths on side streets bombarded police with bricks, bottles, stones and Molotov cocktails.

Riot police in helmets and shields dragged protesters off the street by their arms and legs, then officers used a massive mobile water cannon to douse the rioters.



Blood

One teenage rioter preparing to throw a brick was knocked off his feet by a blast from the water cannon. Blood streamed from his face as he scrambled from the pavement. Others stood further back and threw empty beer bottles blindly over rooftops into police lines.

Police also fired several snub-nosed plastic bullets.

The violence spread to other working-class Catholic districts in Belfast and other towns. Sporadic rioting continued into early today -- laying bare the hostilities that remain despite nearly two decades of peacemaking.

Police said they had no doubt officers and protesters had suffered multiple injuries in Ardoyne.

They said one policewoman suffered a suspected fractured skull after being struck in Ardoyne. Paramedics' efforts to evacuate her were delayed by the rioters' unrelenting barrage.

Police reported salvoes of stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails near south Belfast's Ormeau Bridge, which was barricaded with burning bins.

The latest trouble comes on top of rioting in two other Catholic parts of Belfast early yesterday. Police said 27 officers were hurt, including three who suffered pellet wounds from a shotgun blast.

Police said officers were ambushed early today in Derry's Bogside, after rioters set a police vehicle on fire. Police tried to put out the blaze but came under fire from a masked gunman using a nearby pub for cover. The gunman fired five rounds before fleeing but hit nobody, police said.

Earlier, masked men in Catholic west Belfast hijacked a bus, ordered it to be abandoned outside a police station, and claimed a bomb had been hidden on the top deck of the bus. British army explosives experts declared the threat a hoax.

In Lurgan, masked youths in the Catholic district of Kilwilkie threw Molotov cocktails at police and at a passenger train stopped in the town. The engineer drove the train away after Molotov cocktails hit the side of one cabin, but it didn't catch fire and none of the 55 passengers on board was reported hurt.

hnews@herald.ie


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