Northern Irish Police Officers Hurt in Second Night of Violence

Rioters in Northern Ireland injured 15 policemen during a second night of violence in Belfast, in some of the worst trouble experienced in the region this year.

Officers used water cannon and fired plastic bullets, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement today. Rival Protestant and Catholic gangs threw petrol bombs, bricks and bottles, and pushed a hijacked van into police lines.

“Again we find ourselves subject to serious violence,” said Will Kerr, assistant chief constable of the region’s police force. “The negative impact of these violent pictures on jobs, tourism and investment cannot be underestimated.”

Rioters injured 50 police in the first night of trouble. The violence was sparked by a parade, which remain frequent flash points for confrontation even after armed violence in Northern Ireland largely ended more than a decade ago.

The Parades Commission, an independent body which rules on contentious marches, allowed the September 2 parade by republicans, who want a united Ireland, to take place without restrictions.

The Orange Order, a mainly Protestant marching group, criticized that decision and said the Parades Commission should be disbanded. Orange Order leaders said a Protestant parade planned for the end of this month in the same area must be allowed to proceed without any restrictions.

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