W EST Belfast criminals have been accused of travelling to North Belfast to kick off the violence that erupted there on July 12.
On Thursday, rioting erupted in Ardoyne following contentious marches through the nationalist area of the Crumlin Road. The first parade was by Orangemen returning from the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, the second was by a nationalist group supported by dissident republicans, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), which opposed to the parade.
As trouble broke out, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at police lines by both nationalists and loyalists, leaving 20 PSNI officers injured. The PSNI fired six plastic bullets, used water cannon on the rioters and made several arrests. Later, up to 10 shots were fired at the police in what they described as “attempted murder”.
In an internet blog site written under the name of Ardoyne Republican and frequently moderated by North Belfast dissident republican Martin Óg Meehan, a post published on Sunday claims criminal elements from West Belfast infiltrated the peaceful GARC parade and caused the later trouble.
“During the confusion, some local and West Belfast criminals, including some state agents and informers who regularly ruin their own communities, sneaked into the march as it made its way down the Ardoyne Road from Estoril Park.”
As the parade moved towards Ardoyne’s Brompton Park, it was attacked by loyalists and the “local hoods” retaliated, it’s claimed.
The blog claims that the GARC parade was dignified and was marred only by the criminal element from West and North Belfast.
“Some local hoods retaliated in kind, which is really regrettable, but given their hatred towards community activism was not surprising.”
The GARC parade was opposed by another residents group, the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), supported by local MLA Gerry Kelly, who said it was ill-advised for nationalist protestors to hold a parade in protest at another parade. The Orange Order bussed a small number of marchers across town on the Twelfth afternoon to beat the Parades Commission’s 4pm return deadline, sparking loyalist anger.