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Police injured in Belfast sectarian clashes

United Kingdom

Police injured in Belfast sectarian clashes

Petrol bombs, bottles and bricks were thrown, as republicans and loyalists clashed on the streets of Belfast.

Twenty-six police officers were injured and three hospitalised as they tried to restore order to the north of the city.

Violence erupted following a march held by the Republican Network for Unity. Organisers claim the event was targeted by loyalists in a pre-meditated strike.

Police fended off attacks from both sides and used water cannon to repel wheelie bins that had been set alight and launched at them. A number of arrests have been made.

This latest disturbance comes one week after tensions flared between the two sides when a loyalist marching band defied a ban on playing sectarian songs outside St Patrick’s, one of Belfast’s oldest Catholic churches.

There are fears that more violence could occur during a parade planned for September 29, when thousands of loyalists will march past the same church.