Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Second night of violence in east Belfast

Tue 21 June 2011, 11:37pm

A significant police presence at the scene of last night’s rioting has failed to stop a recurrence of the violence.  From the UTV report

Update  From the BBC report

Police have confirmed that dissident republicans were responsible for shooting a photographer during trouble in east Belfast on Tuesday night.

It happened during a second night of violence at a sectarian flashpoint on the Lower Newtownards Road.

Police said the trouble was orchestrated by the loyalist paramilitary group, the UVF.

And from the UTV report

ACC Finlay said rioting close to the Short Strand interface on Tuesday night was not as organised as the previous night.

He said: “The bulk of this violence is coming from the loyalist community and the UVF in east Belfast does have role to play in that”.

“The UVF in east Belfast started this; there was no sign of them trying to finish that”, he added during a press conference on Wednesday.

“Their hands are upon this, whether by direction, omission or commission.”

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Comments (129)

  1. lamhdearg (profile) says:

    sounds ok to me harry, does it apply if your home is 10 miles away from the acton (some say the dissy doing the shooting was from ardoyne) and does it apply if its a loyalist doing the shooting, should irish nats be doing the home attacking (as happens over in twaddell quite often).

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  2. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “and does it apply if its a loyalist doing the shooting, should irish nats be doing the home attacking (as happens over in twaddell quite often).”

    Same rules apply, if a mob is attacking your home, you are entitled to defend yourself.

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  3. Reader (profile) says:

    Harry Flashman: Same rules apply, if a mob is attacking your home, you are entitled to defend yourself.
    Suppose you are just doing your job, and a mob is throwing rocks and petrol bombs at you, are you entitled to use lethal force to defend yourself?
    I expect you can see where this is going now…

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  4. JR (profile) says:

    I can’t agree with you there Harry, Bad as a riot is a gun battle is worse.

    I can see how if as a republican you see a loyalist mob advancing on your house and you know paddy up the road has an armalite in his attic from his provo days (for emergencies) you might be tempted to borrow it but there are a number of flaws in the plan.

    Firstly the battle hardened, petrol bomb wielding, taig hating UVF man you hit will transform into an innocent protestant teenager defending his home and family the minute you shoot him. Only increasing the hatred from the other side and providing 5 more volunteers to take his place.

    Secondly, given that you are firing in a housing estate, you could end up killing a kid in their bed up to half a mile away.

    And thirdly the next time they decide to attack the area, they won’t come in at 8 o’clock on a bright evening with 100 angry men, shouting and roaring and throwing bricks and bottles. Four men will creep in at 3 am with a pistol and a silencer.

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  5. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “I expect you can see where this is going now…”

    No, because those particular people have been trained, equipped and are paid to deal with such public disorder situations and have a wide range of physical and legal powers to quell disorder long before they need to resort to lethal force.

    If however, as appears to be the case, they choose not to deploy those powers and instead simply reverse back and forth in their well protected armoured vehicles while the baboons outside are left free to hurl rocks, explosive devices and other lethal objects at innocent, defenceless civilians then the citizens are entitled to adopt their own protective measures.

    If such defensive measures involve asking someone who happens to have an effective means of crowd control, (blowing out the brain stems of the feral thugs who are attacking your homes is pretty effective in my book) then they are perfectly entitled to do so.

    JR your reasoning is fine from a strategic point of view I am however arguing from a position of moral (if not strictly “legal”) entitlement.

    Free men are entitled to bear arms in legitimate self defence.

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  6. There is a new mural saying something similar Harry

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  7. JR (profile) says:

    I suppose we will have to disagree on the moral aspect of it too. I personally don’t think it is morally right to shoot someone attacking your home with bricks. There is possibly a moral argument for shooting them if you are in a clear cut Kill or be Killed moment.

    In the heat of a moment it is very hard to distinguish between “kill or be Killed” and “Kill or be injured” or “kill or have your Windows broken.”

    Very soon you make the step to “Kill because there are people down the road who I am very afraid of and I think they want to kill me.”

    Sections of both communities at that interface genuinely feel their actions are legitimate self defense. And we all know attack is the best form of defense.

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  8. Harry Flashman (profile) says:

    “There is a new mural saying something similar Harry”

    The statement on that mural is perfectly correct even if the hoodlums quoting it are not.

    “I personally don’t think it is morally right to shoot someone attacking your home with bricks”

    JR, no one has any business attacking anyone’s homes with anything and just for the record large lumps of masonry hurled at defenceless civilians are lethal objects.

    Too many people have grown up with the idea that throwing stones at people is just a we bit of harmless crack, a right of passage for the weans as it were. Rioting is an extremely serious and dangerous activity, if you voluntarily choose to join a riot you must be prepared to take the consequnces of your choices, if those consequences are fatal then so be it, the choice is yours. We would soon see a lot less communal disorder and greater mutual respect if a few of these little hoodies were brought home feet first.

    Quite apart from the fact that this isn’t one or two bricks being thrown but a well coordinated mob throwing fusilades of rocks, petrol bombs and explosive devices. Once you form in a mob to collectively attack the homes and families of your neighbours you put yourself outside the rule of law, literally you become outlaws.

    There has traditionally been an effective way to deal with outlaws, if the forces of law and order choose to abdicate the responsility given them to maintain law and order then ordinary citizens not only have the right but are duty bound to deal with the lawbreakers with whatever means they have at their disposal.

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  9. Heres a thought re the message on the mural.
    If as is being widely reported the UVF did indeed go to the Short Strand and i see no reason to doubt that, was this mural part of a plan to gain credence in the area.
    Kind of like we warned you didn’t we and we did defend you all.
    Simplistic perhaps but i’m really struggling to understand the thinking behind this attack. As for the talk of dissidents etc if this wasn’t sanctioned by the UVF leadership then why isn’t the term” breakaway faction” being used?

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  10. slappymcgroundout (profile) black spot says:

    You need the equivalent of a US state’s National Guard and it needs to be as close to reflecting the proportions of the two tribes as possible. Then when this stuff happens you roll in the tanks. I get that the police vehicles are armored, but they aren’t nearly so threatening as a tank (they also don’t take up quite as much space). And the rest of the Guard comes with (as it were) and so no standard issue police firearms but assault rifles. With bayonets fixed. And, no, they don’t start off quelling the riot by shooting. A few loud warnings to cease and desist and when that fails to quell the mob, then butt-stroking a few of the miscreants with their rifles would be the next step. With the police behind them to take the butt-stroked into custody.

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  11. Hmm wasn’t that the UDR slappy?

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  12. slappymcgroundout (profile) black spot says:

    “Hmm wasn’t that the UDR slappy?”

    Did I not stress the proportional representation? That’s the cure for the prior ailment (with sufficient oversight as well).

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  13. JR (profile) says:

    I do think that rioting in Northern Ireland should be a much more painful experiance. I saw these shot gun cartriges that are used in america. Basically the shot is in a bag. A bit like getting shot with a beanbag. It looked very sore. Maybe tazors too. I also liked Lamhdhearg’s idea of the die in the watercannon.

    If people knew that going out for some rioting was going to involve coming home black and blue or going to prison for a few years they might think twice.

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  14. slappymcgroundout (profile) black spot says:

    Oh, and Mooch, remember that here in the US, same as there back in the day, presumably, is the chief executive officer, i.e., the governor, who calls out the national guard. For you that would be FM and DFM. So Peter and Marty. They would both have to agree on the deployment and the operational orders of the deployment as contained in the order activating the guard. As you can imagine, that would at least mean that those two would have some responsibility other than simply giving soundbites to the press and appointing a person or commission to study and/or resolve the matter.

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  15. articles (profile) says:

    hi Keano10

    Just to let you know that your post got cited in todays Guardian.

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  16. Mark (profile) says:

    ” Lamhdearg’s idea of the die in the watercannon ” ……..

    or follow the IDF’s lead and fill the watercannon with excrement and urine and see how long they last . Better still , fill the watercannon from a sewerage in a nationalist area and announce the fact via loud hailers and twitter etc…

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  17. JR (profile) says:

    That sewerage idea would have the added benifit of identifying rioters when they turn up at their GP with cholera or typhoid!

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  18. Joe Bloggs (profile) black spot black spot says:

    Moochin Photoman – 23 June 2011 at 11:02 am

    “Simplistic perhaps but i’m really struggling to understand the thinking behind this attack.”

    As someone who lives so close to the Short Strand and seems to be on the ground day and night surely you will have seen the growing pressure from Unionist streets under attack for ‘something to be done’.

    SF and the PSNI seemed unable to stop the low level campaign from the Short Strand against Unionist streets which has went on for months so it was inevitable somebody was going to step up and masquerade as the community’s ‘defenders’.

    Take your camera into Cluan Place, Madrid Street, Thistle Court, Susan Street, Duke Street and Pitt Park and ask the residents what their life has been like for the past 6-9 months.

    You might then understand why Monday night’s (disgraceful) events occurred.

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  19. Joe
    What i have seen is the new murals going up which i have been roundly castigated for raising awareness of. And whilst i’m on that subject none of the folks who have slabbered at me for those particular posts have not been heard on here since monday. Perhaps too busy eh?
    Anyhoo Joe, the tit for tat attacks have been going on for an awful long time and a network of communication has been built up to deal with that. Not only that the gating of alleys has also helped reduce that particular problem around Albertbridge rd. Thistle court and Madrid street are quiet and have not had any sort of attack that i know of.
    The wee scrotes responsible for any attack on either side deserve the full force of the law, such as it is, to be brought down on them. The problem i,s and i have spoken to the PSNI about this, is that it’s very very difficult to get a conviction unless caught red handed and when they do get caught and charged they are often released the same day/night and carry on as if nothing happened.
    I’m sorry Joe but using but this low level stuff as an excuse just doesn’t wash with me, a co-ordinated attack such as the one on monday night was disproportionate and a flexing of muscles. The murals are a part of that too and the insecurity of Ugly Doris or whatever the local leader is called is writ large…on the walls. Shouldn’t forget about the HET investigation which clearly has “UD” and his lil band of *ahem*warriors worried.

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  20. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    It is clear from what I have read on this blog over the past few days, that the loyalist/unionists contributors are laying the blame on everyone but the UVF.

    The UVF have been organising this attack for a few weeks. The bricks have been taken from Housing Executive sites, and have been stored for later use. The murals of armed gunmen are also a show of strength. The writing alongside one of them justifies the action taken by the UVF.

    It’s funny when so-called dissident republicans attack the PSNI, that unionism has a lot to say. But when it’s the UVF attacking Catholic children and pensioners, they blame everybody but the UVF.

    One thing we have all learned, is that loyalists, and their unionist apologisers, have not changed one bit. The UVF orchestrated the attack, and their supporters carried it out. They have done this for generations, and will continue to do so unless unionism starts to lead, and not be led by the Orange Order and the UVF/UDA/RHC.

    To blame anyone but the UVF, is excusing them for their abhorrent deed.

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  21. I found this today on the Newtownards Rd

    PUBLIC MEETING at the Ballymac Centre Pitt Park
    Thursday 23/6/11

    This meeting is in relationship to the recent upsurge of attacks on homes and propertys along the loyalist side of the interface coming from the Short Strand Area.
    Residents are asked to please attend and have your say on these issues

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  22. Brian (profile) says:

    Why are people attacking home and property in the first place?

    What is the point of all of this?

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  23. between the bridges (profile) says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13883919

    many posters here have been saying it’s ok to attack the attackers attacking the attacked….or was it defending the defenders of the defenseless?

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  24. Joe Bloggs (profile) black spot black spot says:

    Moochin Photoman – 23 June 2011 at 5:14 pm

    “I’m sorry Joe but using but this low level stuff as an excuse just doesn’t wash with me, a co-ordinated attack such as the one on monday night was disproportionate and a flexing of muscles.”

    Using the logic of Nationalist posters regarding the Kingsmill massacre surely it’s better that these two nights of heavy violence have brought the issue to a head because it seems community leaders and SF reps in the Strand are now taking this problem seriously and all violence has stopped.

    Are two nights of heavy violence followed by peace and quiet perhaps better than 6-9 months of low level violence?

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  25. slappymcgroundout (profile) black spot says:

    “Are two nights of heavy violence followed by peace and quiet perhaps better than 6-9 months of low level violence?”

    Might very well be, except for one thing. How many souls were ever in the PIRA at one time? How large was the Irish Catholic community at that same time? What was the geographic spread of that same community? Presumably, the UVF has enough folk to patrol the interface and interdict any attacks should they so desire. That’s the difference. One otherwise wonders, if, as you say, there were these low level attacks, well, again, how long, wide, whatever sort of measurement you wish to use, is the interface? So why not park a police truck or two somewhere along the interface? Not necessarily the preferred use of police resources, but if that’s what it takes until some other solution can be found, then would seem to be what was and is required. Back to the UVF, given the scale and the manpower available, should be practical for them to simply communicate with whatever groups there are representing the folks in the Short Strand. They then inform them of the circumstance and advise them to either control the problem themselves or help them control the problem, or else they will go it alone and so will forcibly detain anyone observed to be causing damage to the property of others and will detain such person until the PSNI arrive on the scene and will be prepared and so will provide the necessary testimony in court in aid of the prosecution of the offender. That sounds a whole lot more rational to me than what happened here. And that such apparently did not happen tells me that the UVF folks there are either dimwits or have another agenda, neither of which works to their credit.

    Lastly, so you get the difference re Kingsmill, not only was the PIRA never in position of being able to protect the random Catholic, if they had approached the UVF prior to Kingsmill it would have been taken as a sign of weakness and the UVF would likely have been of the mind, we’ve got them on the run now boys, so let’s keep the pressure on and they’ll soon surrender (so likely no agreement re the killing and instead more dead random Catholics). Kingsmill means that when the PIRA approaches the UVF to work out that agreement that Willie Frazer once claimed was reached back in the day, the PIRA approaches the UVF from a position of something other than perceived weakness. By the way, I have never heard or read any discussion on just who approached who following Kingsmill, but would your opinion of some change if it was the PIRA that approached the UVF and not the other way around?

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  26. Joe Bloggs (profile) black spot black spot says:

    First I’ve ever heard of any discussions between UVF and PIRA after Kingsmill.

    Here’s the point I’m trying to make:

    We seen on the news this evening known PIRA members/’stewards’ chasing away young Nationalists attempting to attack the protestants on the other side of the PSNI vehicles on Albertbridge Road.

    That would not have happened prior to Monday and Tuesday’s events when Nationalist hoodlums had free reign to attack homes over the peacelines. So… some living in Unionist streets within throwing distance of the Short Strand might now say the violence was well worth it.

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  27. slappymcgroundout (profile) black spot says:

    Joe Bloggs:

    “The Kingsmill massacre was the last in the series of sectarian killings in South Armagh during the mid-1970s. According to local unionist activist Willie Frazer of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), this was as a result of deal between the local UVF and IRA units.[38]”

    The cite there, the [38], is given as:

    ^ Harnden, p. 140

    So would be page 140 of Toby Harnden’s Bandit Country.

    By the way, when Willie complains about the denial of a permit to carry a weapon for personal protection, well, one the grounds, or the ground is purported to be his loyalist connections. As you can hopefully imagine, unless Willie has such connections the above-related report attributed to him by Mr. Harnden is either wild speculation on his part or he has the connections and so knows the score.

    Lastly, the point of my immediately above post was even if what you say is true re some doing what you say, there was another more rational solution.

    Almost forgot, but in making the argument that as brutal and ugly as it was, and it was brutal and ugly, and no one covered themselves in glory, but in making the argument that Kingsmill saved lives, while the majority of those lives saved would have been Catholic there is no doubt that some Protestant lives were saved as well (since if there was no tit there would be no tat)(such is what I find most unattractive about the claims of some of my critics here, since it is simply undeniable, the one line above, re Kingsmill being the last of the random killing for a while there, and if you take the view, as my critics do, that it was tit for tat, then some of those who would have died otherwise were Protestant and so some Protestant lives were saved as well when the killing stopped for a while there; the PIRA may not have intended to save Protestant lives but that does not change the fact that Protestant lives were saved and you can decide for yourself whether you think 10 or more total were saved, or if you wish to play it sectarian, whether more than 10 Protestant lives were saved)(again, if one reads the CAIN chronology of death then one cannot deny that the killing of randoms stopped for a while there in Armagh and since there must be a reason, well, the only reason ever offered is Willie’s report of a deal between the local PIRA and UVF units).

    For one more, as a lawyer let me say something that I often have occasion to tell my clients. During the course of the litigation the other side may do things that have less to do with them achieving their end goal and more to do with causing you pain. The temptation is going to be to hit back. If and when that happens expect me to tell you to let it go and that I will not be hitting back but instead doing those things that will have you achieve the end result that you desire. The same applies here. Don’t get caught up in hitting back. Look at how this has played out. You claim that there was prior bad conduct from some others across the divide. But the media is reporting that the whole affair is owing to the UVF. So even if you are correct, you have lost the propaganda battle. That was avoidable, and avoidable with some still having a reasonable means of protecting their interests. Think with your cerebral cortex and not your amygdala (reason over emotion).

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  28. carl marks (profile) says:

    i hav just had a look at the various party websites and it interesting reading
    sf. leads with the short strand issue allaince has a press release and thats it nothing from the dup uup tuv sdlp or the pup does that not seem a bit strange considering what just happened.
    Maybe im just missing the statements surely all the politicians in this sad little place would be speaking out about happened

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  29. between the bridges (profile) says:

    The PSNI has confirmed that rioting on the Newtownards Road did not begin on Monday night, but on Saturday — as sources from the loyalist community have told the Community Telegraph.

    A spokesperson from the loyalist side of the ‘peace wall’ said the violence of Monday and Tuesday night was precipitated by an assault on their homes and a girl being hit on the face by a brick that was thrown from the nationalist side of the wall on Sunday evening.

    The PSNI have confirmed Saturday’s rioting: “Police in east Belfast responded to reports of disturbances in the Lower Newtownards Road area at approx 9.30pm on Saturday, June 18.

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/community-telegraph/east-belfast/news/attack-on-girl-blamed-for-trouble-16015238.html#ixzz1QBgAtwgg

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