North Ireland Parliament recalled as violence
BELFAST - ReutersProtestant youths hurled petrol bombs at police in Northern Ireland, wounding at least 27 officers in a fourth night of protests over restrictions on traditional marches, as the White House expressed “deep concern” about the violence.
The regional Parliament, recalled from its summer recess, met yesterday to discuss ways of restoring order.
At least six home-made explosive devices and several petrol bombs were thrown at police in east Belfast, police said. Police responded with water cannon and at least one baton round in Belfast. Protests and other incidents were reported in at least five other towns across the British province.
The police service called on the regional Parliament to help end the clashes. “Today is a day for calming words and a renewed commitment from the Assembly to finding political solutions,” the force’s chief constable Matt Baggott said. “There are already too many injured police officers and young people facing prison sentences for anything else to be acceptable.”
Thousands of pro-British Protestants march every summer, a regular flashpoint for sectarian violence as Catholics, many of whom favor unification with Ireland, see the parades as a provocation. Protestant marchers, unhappy because authorities ruled they could not walk along a stretch of road that divides the two communities, started throwing bricks and bottles on July 12.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed his “deep concern” about the violence during a phone call with Northern Ireland’s leaders on Monday, the White House said.
Catholic protesters clashed with police in one protest in the Adroyne area of the city. One car was set alight during clashes in north Belfast. Sixty people have been arrested and 71 officers wounded since the latest clashes started.