Riots in Belfast result in 32 police officers injured

July 13, 2013 at 11:02 AM
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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 13 (UPI) -- Northern Ireland police officials said Saturday the Orange Order brotherhood was "reckless" after violence in a Belfast protest left 32 police officers injured.

The Orange Order staged the protest Friday after Northern Ireland's Parades Commission decided not to allow the organization's annual march from passing the Ardoyne area, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

"I think this morning some of the leadership within the Orange Order needs to reflect upon whether they provided the responsible leadership asked for by myself and by the party leaders," Chief Constable Matt Baggott said Saturday. "Some of their language was emotive and having called thousands of people to protest they had no plan and no control and, rather than being responsible, I think the word for that is reckless.

"We said that we were resolved to uphold the rule of law and the Parades Commission determination not to allow the return parade past the Ardoyne shop fronts. We did that. We did so impartially. We did so firmly," Baggott said.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said she "utterly condemned" the rioting, the BBC reported.

"Attacks on the police are completely unacceptable and there can be no justification for this kind of behavior," Villiers said. "This sort of behavior does nothing to promote 'Britishness' or the pro-union cause. Rather it undermines it in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of people here in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the [United Kingdom]."

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