The British government has declared that it no longer recognises a key paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland as being on ceasefire. Downing Street says the Ulster Volunteer Force, one of the main pro-British armed groups in the province, has broken a truce. It has been blamed for orchestrating riots this week.
Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain said:
“There can be no excuse for any politician to turn a blind eye to murder attempts on Northern Ireland police officers, or to the instigation of communityviolence. No excuses.”
More than 60 police officers were injured in the rioting which was sparked by the re-routing of a parade planned by pro-British Protestant Unionists through a Catholic neighbourhood. The re-routing concerned a 100-metre stretch of street.
The activities of the Ulster Volunteer Force are seen as hampering a revival of the peace process at a time when the Irish Republican Army, which opposes British rule, has pledged to lay down its weapons.