It is looking it will a long weekend. Tonight’s anti-internment march was the first of a series of parades, with the Apprentice Boys tomorrow, Belfast District No 4 at Ardoyne and the Tyrone Volunteer Commemoration on Sunday.
Tonight’s march was preceded by
unionist loyalist protestors attacking police in Belfast city centre before the march even arrived (making the predictable spin more difficult since the republican march was nowhere in sight at the time). The march was routed away from Royal Avenue by the PSNI, which seems to have been peacefully accepted by the marchers (which was presumably the converse of the intended reaction).
As of 8.40pm, BBC is reporting:
Disturbances are continuing in areas around North Street and Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre.
Earlier loyalist protesters prevented a republican parade from passing along Royal Avenue.
Police said they came under heavy and sustained attack by crowds “intent on creating disorder”.
Four officers were injured, two of them needing hospital treatment. Police fired 20 plastic baton rounds and used two water cannon.
Police said they had reports that two members of the public had been injured.
Loyalist protesters attacked the police with bricks and bottles as they waited for the republican parade to arrive.
Unionism has had yet another bad week and there is nothing to suggest this weekend is going to show an improvement in fortunes.
Who’d want to be Richard Haas?