Aside from heat and frustration, the inspiration for Derry’s young rioters is no secret…

Interesting take on the spate of rioting in Derry that’s been going on for three days now on Morning Ireland. A local journalist tells RTE that no one local knows what it’s all been about or what sparked it. The preliminary target appears to have been the tiny Protestant enclave on the city side of the River Foyle, and according to the BBC, Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan said she believes dissident republicans have been orchestrating recent attacks: “Our youth workers … Read more

North Belfast kicks off…

The BBC are reporting that water cannon and baton rounds have been used in north Belfast after a sustained attack on police in the Woodvale area.  Four police officers and one civilian, to date, are reported to have been injured in the disorder.  And there have been a number of clashes between rival loyalist and nationalist groups in the area.  The Guardian is live-blogging events. • The first violent clashes erupted around twenty minutes to eight in the north end of … Read more

Baggott tells press young people are being led “by the nose towards prison”

BBC report Matt Baggott words this morning… Mr Baggott defended a police operation on Saturday when a “breakaway crowd” of loyalist protesters marched past a nationalist area in east Belfast. “Residents should not have been put through that. I’m sorry they were put through that trauma,” he said. He warned those taking part in the riots “a knock on the door was coming”. Mr Baggott said that police estimated more than 4,000 people took part in street protests on Friday across … Read more

Rioting: Northern Ireland Street Theatre

As the violence over flags inevitably wanes, debates over the legitimacy of loyalist actions will continue. What will be obscured in the discussion is a key feature of rioting in Northern Ireland – namely that it is a controlled performance and creative spectacle. A burning car in the middle of the road is a striking scene, whether watched in delight or disgust. Petrol bombs hang in the air like Chinese Lanterns; fireworks and police vans light up the night sky; … Read more

Our Time? Our Place?

Your captions are welcomed. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

Is the Parades issue a signal of underlying political drift in Northern Ireland?

So, much to the bemusement of some of the Fine Gael TDs I sat with this morning at the BIPA in Glasgow, Micheal Martin’s accusation that under Enda Kenny the southern government has taken its eye off the ball regarding Northern Ireland seems more than just a little calculated. Yet, there’s also a fairly robust analysis of the kind of things that are rarely described these a in Northern Ireland as a political problem: The Peace Process was always intended … Read more

“It’s a manifestation of social control by people who were able to act with tacit impunity…”

In the Christian Science Monitor, Jason Walsh has a clearer view than most of what is “deliberate, almost formalized cultural chest-thumping”. Even among many who are glad that the Troubles have ended, blame is beginning to point toward the structure of the peace process itself, specifically how it attempted to defuse the conflict into a culture war. While the Troubles’ zero-sum political conflict – between the competing ideas of a united Ireland and a United Kingdom – has ended, what remains … Read more

Maybe what we need is more activist photographers?

It’s disconcerting being photographed. I presume that was part of the reasoning of East German Border Guards taking copious amounts of them of the hoards of tourists that used to visit Checkpoint Charlie in the old days (or February 1986 to you and me)… It puzzled me for years afterwards what they might do with a set of photographs of people I presume they could know nor log or even process effectively in those days when Intel processers were much … Read more

Was Sunday’s loyalist riot in north Belfast an attempt to ‘regulate by riot’?

So there was riot in north Belfast. What’s new? Well, what’s new is that for the first time in a number of years it was initiated by Loyalists against a Republican parade. In recent years, the traffic has been more or less one way in the opposite direction. And it seems to have been pretty pre meditated. At 2pm yesterday a crowd of several hundred were seen gathering at the flash point some of them wearing scarves and balaclavas. Not … Read more

Thoughts on the politics of the riots

Riots are not common in mainland GB. Every time one occurs there is handwringing by the media who seem torn between denouncing it all as “mindless violence” and trying to understand why it has happened. The same occurs in Northern Ireland of course though previously during the Troubles there seemed more emphasis on understanding and nowadays there is more emphasis on condemning. Politicians are similar to the media in their reactions with the exception that any politician who attempts to … Read more

In July 1981 people were rioting in Toxteth, Liverpool … can we learn, or do better?

Doing the dishes and listening to a Radio 4 podcast of this week’s Thinking Allowed, I heard a discussion about the riots in Liverpool more than 30 years on. July 1981 was the first time the UK police used CS gas outside Northern Ireland. Wikipedia sums up the scale of the rioting that lasted nine days: one person died after being struck by a police vehicle trying to clear crowds, 468 police officers were injured, 500 people were arrested, and … Read more

POTD – No More

Aftermath Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from … Read more

Three officers shot during Belfast rioting

From the BBC: “A total of 27 officers were injured during disturbances – 14 in the New Lodge area of north Belfast and 13 at Broadway in west Belfast. About 200 people threw petrol bombs, stones and bottles at police during trouble in the Broadway area. The trouble began at about 2345 BST on Sunday. Police used water canon and fired baton rounds. At least one car was hijacked and set alight” adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments … Read more