Monday, September 12, 2005
I wonder if the Protestants will find a way to blame the recent violence on the IRA?|
Protestant mobs rioted on Sunday for a second consecutive night in Belfast and in towns on the city's outskirts, seriously injuring at least 30 police officers, in the province's worst violence in seven years.We are now seeing proof that every bad thing that happened in the North, over the last 30+ years, wasn't done by the Catholic/Nationalists, as you'd think from the media. One would think that the Protestants quite unintentionally, may be playing into the hands of the Nationalists, by making themselves seem ungovernable to the British.
Crowds of men wearing masks or hooded sweatshirts pulled over their faces terrorized citizens and attacked security forces. Cars were set on fire at major intersections, closing a highway into Belfast. The more than 2,000 police officers and British soldiers at the scene were bombarded with homemade explosives and bottles of flaming gasoline while they held rioters back at major intersections.
Sir Hugh Orde, Northern Ireland's chief constable, said the clashes posed "one of the most dangerous riot situations in the history of policing in the United Kingdom," especially because Protestant paramilitary groups attacked the police with automatic weapons. One policeman was shot in the eye and partly blinded.
"It is unique to Northern Ireland for officers to come under live fire in what was a public order situation," Sir Hugh said.
In Bangor, rioters hijacked a bus, robbed and ejected its passengers, drove it to Belfast and set it on fire; in another town, they used a stolen backhoe to knock down streetlights and tear an A.T.M. from a wall. In Belfast, they rammed a police station's gates with a stolen car. The police arrested at least 10 people.
The disturbances began Saturday after the government banned a parade by the Orange Order, a Protestant men's organization, from passing through a Roman Catholic neighborhood in Belfast. The Order, which holds hundreds of parades during the summer, called on supporters to protest. At least 1,000 Protestants, mostly members of paramilitary groups and teenagers, took to the streets.
Sectarian tensions have repeatedly flared since July, despite hopes that such violence would subside after the Irish Republican Army's announcement of an end to its armed campaign against Britain. Catholic homes and schools in Ahogill, north of Belfast, were desecrated with paint, and gangs have attacked several young Catholic men, killing one.
The I.R.A., which is Northern Ireland's largest paramilitary group and has traditionally been backed by Catholics, has yet to fulfill its pledge to disarm, and many Protestants feel that Catholics have benefited disproportionately from the province's 10-year-old peace efforts.