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Second night of sectarian violence in Belfast

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Second night of sectarian violence in Belfast

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Sectarian clashes took place for a second night in Northern Ireland’s capital, with police estimating as many as 700 people being involved. In an area of east Belfast, where loyalist Protestants and Catholics are separated by ‘peace walls’, petrol bombs, missiles and fireworks were thrown at authorities.

The latest reported injuries include a man with a fractured skull and a photographer being shot in the leg. On Monday night, two other men were treated for gunshot wounds.

The violence comes at the start of Northern Ireland’s marching season, a time of annual parades by Protestants, which has triggered violent protests by Catholics in the past. Despite the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which was meant to signal an end to the hostilities, tension has continued in east Belfast.

Police are blaming this fighting on the Ulster Volunteer Force – one of the deadliest pro-British paramilitary groups, who claim to have decommisioned their weapons two years ago.