Violence flares around Northern Ireland marches

By REUTERS
July 12, 2013 22:47
1 minute read.

 
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BELFAST - Protestant marchers in Belfast threw objects at police, who responded with water cannon as Northern Ireland's annual parade season descended into violence on Friday.

Pro-British Protestants march every summer in the British-ruled province, a regular flashpoint for sectarian violence as Catholics, who favor unification with Ireland, see the parades as provocative.

Since a peace agreement was signed in 1998, violence between Catholics and Protestants - which raged on and off for three decades - has largely ended. But much of Belfast remains divided along religious lines.

Extra police have been drafted in from Britain for the marches.

Tens of thousands of members of the Orange Order paraded at more than a dozen venues across Northern Ireland to mark the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James of England.

One member of the police was injured in west Belfast on the boundary of Protestant and Catholic areas, and had to be dragged away by colleagues, a Reuters witness said.

"Police are dealing with serious disorder in the Woodvale Road area of North Belfast," the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.

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