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UK News

Police injured in Belfast parade violence

Twenty-four police officers were hurt after being pelted with bricks, bolts and bottles when they prevented loyalists from marching to a majority Catholic area.

The marchers were trying to go between the unionist Woodvale area and the nationalist Ardoyne area of Belfast when violence began.

One officer had 12 stitches to a finger after being bitten.

The Orange Order commemoration is held on the 12th July every year to mark the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Roman Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

It is often a source of tension between some Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson condemned the violence: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is tasked with upholding the rule of law and it is vital that those involved in such riotous activity cease and are held accountable.

"They do a massive disservice to the wider cause they claim to support."

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said: "Those responsible do nothing to further the cause they claim to promote.

"They damage Northern Ireland and wreck a day which should be about respectful celebration of cultural tradition."

During the violence loyalist bandsmen played the sectarian Famine Song and The Sash, both deemed offensive by Catholics.

Police used water cannon to disperse the groups.

A 16 year old girl was hit by a car in the Ardoyne area as the situation descended into chaos.

She was taken to hospital after locals and police officers lifted the car off her.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said his thoughts were with the injured officers and teenage girl.

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