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Orange riots in Belfast

16 July 2009

by Gregg Ryan, Ireland Correspondent

POLICE were attacked with petrol bombs and missiles in the worst rioting in Belfast since 2004, after the Orange Order celebrations across Northern Ireland on Monday.

Twenty-three members of the Police Service in Northern Ireland were injured after civil disorder in Belfast, Derry, Rasharkin, and Ar­magh. Sinn Fein and the local com­munities blamed dissidents for the violence, and said it was orchestrated by people from outside the localities where it took place.

At the height of riots in Ardoyne, north Belfast, police fired 14 plastic baton rounds, and used water cannons.

The Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters, has indicated a willingness to hold talks with residents of the Garvaghy Road, in order to break the impasse that prevents the Order marching along their tradi­tional route after the Somme commemora­tion service at Drumcree Church.

“We have no objections to talking to the Garvaghy residents,” he said in an address at the Orange celebrations at Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, in the Irish Republic, on Saturday.

It emerged that on Friday the leader of the Garvaghy Road residents, Breandán MacCionnaith, held talks with the First Minister, Peter Robinson (DUP) MLA, at Stormont, to seek a way to break the impasse which has caused 12 years of violence.

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