Amid ongoing Belfast violence, Orange Order applies for parade permit

July 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM
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BELFAST, Ireland, July 17 (UPI) -- Belfast's Orange Order applied to stage a parade on Saturday following five days of rioting in Northern Ireland since their parade was banned last Friday.

The Parades Commission said it would issue its ruling Thursday on the proposed parade, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Legislative Assembly Member Gerry Kelly, of the Irish republican political party Sinn Fein, said the Orange Order had not learned its lesson as a result of the violence over the last few days and was damaging community relations and themselves.

"All this application does is inflame the situation," he said. "Is there anyone with sense in the Orange Order that is going to pull back from this? Where is the leadership?"

Three hundred additional mutual aid officers from U.K. police services were due to arrive in Belfast on Wednesday to assist Northern Ireland's Police Service. The latest group will bring the total number of officers helping since July 12 to 1,300, the BBC reported.

So far, 71 police officers have been injured, 62 people have been arrested, police have fired 51 plastic bullets and at least 125 gas bombs have been thrown at officers.

The Belfast Telegraph reported senior US diplomats will arrive in Belfast this week on a mission to resolve the ongoing rioting.

Former State Department official Richard Haass will lead all-party discussions of issues including controversial parades, flag-flying and dealing with the past, the Telegraph said.

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