Petrol bombs and missiles have been launched at police in the second night of rioting in east Belfast. It is the worst outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland in years. One man was critically injured in an explosion, a second suffred a bullet wound. In similar scenes on Saturday night shots were fired at police. 32 officers were injured.
“Officers were shot at last night. We are very lucky we do not have dead officers this morning,” said Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orme. The flash point was the decision to reroute a Protestant Orange Order parade. Police claim Orangemen incited loyalist followers and supporters to attack their officers after the march was steered away from a Catholic area. Cars were hijacked and torched, while a bus was also reportedly taken over, its passengers robbed and the vehicle set on fire. What is thought to be a small bomb went off outside a police station. More than 1,000 police and the same number of soldiers used water cannons andplastic bullets, and it is reported six rounds of live ammunition in Saturday night’s rioting.