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Rioting continues for second night

Police in Northern Ireland came under attack for the second consecutive night as violence flared following Orange Order parades in Belfast.

Petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and fireworks were hurled at officers and cars were set alight in the city's northern district of Ardoyne, which has a history of sectarian clashes.

Police in riot gear fired baton rounds and water cannons at crowds of around 200 in the Estoril Park and Brompton Park areas after their lines came under attack from masked youths yesterday evening.

Some officers were set alight briefly when hit by petrol bombs and targeted by lasers, while a local photographer was hit by a baton round, the PSNI said.

Several officers were also injured and vehicles hijacked, the force added.

The rioting followed a nationalist protest march held to coincide with a loyal order parade through the residential sectarian interface to mark the Twelfth commemorations.

Trouble also spread to other parts of Belfast with disturbances in the Stewart Street area of Belfast city centre close to the mainly-nationalist Markets area.

Stones and missiles were thrown at police and two parked vehicles were set on fire. A member of the public was hit by masonry. Three juveniles and two adult males were arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour, according to police.

North Belfast Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds condemned the rioters.

"These people have been intent on attacking the police and wreaking havoc in their own community. Such violence is senseless and has clearly nothing to do with protesting against a parade but is just futile rioting," he said.

Alliance Party Belfast City Council member Billy Webb said the riots in Ardoyne had caused enormous damage to the local community.

"Residents in the area are the ones who suffer the most with people feeling trapped in the own homes, scared to go out. Bus services are also affected in the area which the vulnerable rely upon," he said.

"This trouble is putting Northern Ireland in the headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons."

Police said calm was restored to the area during the early hours of this morning.

Away from Belfast, Londonderry, Armagh City and Ballymena, Co Antrim, also experienced public disorder.

There were also disturbances in Newry, Co Down, when youths threw stones and set tyres on fire.

In Londonderry, crowds gathered and a van was set ablaze on a flyover close to Free Derry Corner.

Police said a 14-year-old youth was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour with officers recovering a crate of petrol bombs.

Seven males were also arrested for riotous behaviour.

In Armagh City youths burned tyres and hijacked a car, police added.

Yesterday's Twelfth of July celebrations by Orangemen involved tens of thousands of members of the loyal orders walking the streets to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne victory of a Protestant over a Catholic monarch.

On Monday night, 22 police officers were injured when violence broke out in the nationalist areas of Broadway, Old Park and North Queen Street in the west of the city and continued through the early hours of yesterday morning. More than 40 petrol bombs were thrown and an ambulance and a fire engine were also attacked.

Police used water cannon and fired baton rounds to try to disperse crowds of between 100 and 200 people who began throwing stones and missiles at police lines in the Broadway area of the city.

A number of vehicles were reportedly hijacked, with a motorbike and at least one van set on fire, according to police.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary Peter Bunting said: "As far as the outside world is concerned, it does not matter which side is rioting. What counts is the perception that Northern Ireland is unstable and unsafe.

"There is now a crucial role for OFMDFM (Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister) to show real leadership and support for a coherent anti-sectarian strategy.

"A peaceful marching season would be far better value than stunts like cutting corporation tax."

© Press Association