Politicians on all sides appeal for calm as police use a water cannon to disperse protesters after an Orange march passes through the mainly Nationalist area of north Belfast.
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Nationalist youths started throwing stones at police and a water cannon was then moved into position after an Orange march passed through the Ardoyne area flanked by police. It was fired at protesters, who then rolled a burnt out BMW into police lines, according to Channel 4 News reporter Carl Dinnen, who is on the Crumlin Road in Belfast.
The Parades Commission, which was set up to adjudicate on controversial Orange order routes, had ruled that any march must return from Belfast city centre up the Crumlin road – past Ardoyne – by 4pm on Thursday. The 24-strong parade which marched back up the road passed the controversial area with six minutes to spare before the deadline.
Earlier in the day, protesters holding signs reading "residents rights are being trampled on", clashed with police after the march had passed. No-one was arrested or injured seriously, but hundreds of anti-riot police were on alert for more violence throughout the day.
Rioters sent burning BMW into police lines. Landrover rammed it out of the way. Watercannon put it out.— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) July 12, 2012
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly jeered by youths at the Ardoyne shops. That's something which HAS changed.— Carl Dinnen (@carldinnen) July 12, 2012
A demonstration of over 70 Orange bands met in Belfast, as well as flagship events in Carrickfergus, Enniskillen and Ballynahinch, to mark the highlight of the Orange order calendar.
Tension over legal ruling
The Orange order had insisted it would be impossible to meet with members from across Belfast in the city and make it home again by 4pm. An unnamed individual made a legal appeal against the ruling but the Parades Commission's decision was upheld by a Belfast court on Wednesday, 11th July.
The Orange order said it had come up with a peaceful solution, namely to send a smaller representative group back up the Crumlin Road. David Hume, Grand Orange Lodge director of services told Channel 4 News that the ruling had been met with dismay by many of its members.
"There's a great deal of annoyance and resentment about the impracticality of it - in terms of time scales - as how the Belfast members see it," he said.
Violence of previous years
The Ardoyne area of north Belfast is an especially contentious area as the mainly Nationalist residents object to the parade passing through their home area, and there has been rioting and petrol bombs thrown during previous years on 12th July - the highlight of the Orange Order calendar.
Bonfires are traditionally lit on the eve of the 12th July, and while the vast majority of demonstrations passed off more peacefully than previous years, ten people were arrested in Belfast. Residents of the middle Ormeau Road area, near the Annadale flats bonfire, told Channel 4 News that the event lasted until 2.30am when the police were called to turn off the music and shut down the event.
Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson said that everyone had a responsibility to ensure the 12th passes peacefully.
"The consequences of breaking the law would not only be bad for Northern Ireland, its global reputation and attractiveness as a place to visit and do business. It would also be immensely damaging for anybody who engages in a few moments of madness, as the recent very stiff sentences handed down to people who participated in violence last year demonstrate,” he said.
The 12th July is a public holiday in the north of Ireland, when the protestant Orange order hold demonstrations and marches to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 when the Protestant King William triumphed over the Catholic King James.
13 July 2011
22 June 2011