56 Police Officers Injured In Belfast Riots Northern Ireland

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Scores of loyalists attacked riot police protecting a parade of IRA supporters in Belfast, injuring 56 officers and two civilians. Northern Ireland's police chief said the local prisons will be "bulging" because the "anarchic" scenes were caught on tape. Northern Ireland Chief Constable Matt Baggott has utterly condemned the Protestant extremists who are responsible for the violent clashes with the police. He urged all politicians to voice their condemnation for the riots, which he described as "mindless anarchy and sheer thuggery." Thousands of loyalist extremists on Friday intervened with an Irish republican hard-liners' march taking place in the middle of a busy commercial street in downtown Belfast. According to statements made by Protestant politicians, the march should never have been authorized by security officials. Some of the politicians have called the march "deliberately provocative." But according to Baggott, the loyalists had "no intention of peaceful protest," reportedly confronting riot police in the Royal Avenue area even before the republicans approached. The violence began as sporadic scuffles between police and Protestants who hurled rocks and fireworks. The conflict quickly intensified, with salvos of rocks and bottles being thrown by the Protestants and the arriving Irish republican marchers. The street then descended into chaos, as rioters used all makeshift means to break through the police cordon. Such efforts included using vehicles to break through the police barrier, as well as setting garbage dumpsters on fire before wheeling them into officers. "You saw the scaffolding poles, the metal gratings from the drains, the breaking up of paving slabs, people on roof tops trying to burn houses, people trying to set light to vans and cars and trying to drive them at police lines," Baggott said. Scores of police and two civilians were injured in the chaotic violence. Four officers were said to be treated in hospital. http://rt.com/

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