N. Ireland leaders condemn attacks on police
BELFAST — Northern Ireland leaders yesterday condemned Irish nationalist rioters who wounded 82 police officers during two nights of street clashes sparked by the province’s annual parades by the British Protestant majority.
Although most of the injured officers suffered only cuts and bruises, others suffered burns and broken hands. Two remained hospitalized: a policeman wounded in the chest and arms by a shotgun blast, and a policewoman who had a paving stone dropped on her head from a shop’s rooftop.
The violence in working-class Catholic parts of Belfast and other towns came before and after tens of thousands of Protestants of the Orange Order brotherhood marched at 18 locations across Northern Ireland in an annual show of communal strength. It was the worst rioting in Belfast since the same event a year ago.
Politicians and police commanders said the rioters were influenced by Irish Republican Army dissidents opposed to compromise.
The Northern Ireland police commander, Chief Constable Matt Baggott, released video of Monday’s rioting in two parts of Belfast captured by surveillance helicopters. The footage showed hundreds of masked teens and young men swarming and pummeling police armored vehicles and swinging clubs at ranks of shield-wielding police.