BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland’s police commander says 32 officers have been wounded and reinforcements are arriving from Britain to combat rioting by Protestant extremists inspired by the Orange Order brotherhood.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott says 400 officers from England, Scotland and Wales are being deployed Saturday on Belfast’s streets to help prevent any direct Catholic-Protestant clashes a day after the Orangemen’s annual July 12 parades descended into chaos in two parts of the capital.
Baggott blamed leaders of the Orange Order for encouraging mobs to try to overwhelm police lines in north Belfast, where officers blocked one small parade from passing a hostile Catholic district.
He says leaders of the anti-Catholic fraternal order behaved recklessly, incited violence and had “no plan” for controlling crowds. The rioting lasted six hours.