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Violence erupts in N Ireland

Friday, July 13, 2012    

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LONDON, England (AFP) — Nine Northern Ireland police officers were wounded during violence which erupted after loyalists and republicans marched through North Belfast yesterday, police said.

Hundreds of riot police were attacked with petrol bombs and a car was set alight after a small group of loyalist Orange Order marchers, accompanied by police, passed through the city's Catholic Ardoyne area.

The paraders were welcomed by a large group of loyalists after they completed the Ardoyne stretch of the parade. Groups of loyalists and republicans then traded insults across police lines.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the officers' injuries were not life-threatening but that they were dealing with "significant disorder in the Brompton Park and Balhom Road area".

The PSNI discharged six non-lethal baton rounds and used water cannon to quell violence that broke out after the controversial parades.

"Water cannon has again been deployed and four officers have been injured," said police. "Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening."

Most nationalists, who believe in a united Ireland, object to the march, which marks William III's victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

After the initial violence died down, police allowed a planned protest parade by The Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective to go ahead.

The Twelfth of July parade is the culmination of the Protestant Orange Order's marching season and is usually marred by violence.

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