Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Resistance across the Occupied Six Counties to Orange Order marches

TEN people were injured when the RUC/PSNI fired 18 plastic bullets on protestors across the Occupied Six Counties over the week commencing July 11. Twenty three RUC members sustained injuries as they provided protection for and forced through Orange parades in nationalist areas of Belfast, Derry and Rasharkin, Co Antrim.

Resistance to the orange marches going through nationalist areas was evidenced by disturbances in Derry, Belfast, Armagh, Antrim and other parts of the Occupied Six Counties on July 13. In Belfast nationalist youth took on the RUC for three nights following the 13, with petrol bombs, bricks and stones. Cars and van were hijacked and set on fire.

The RUC claim that a magnum was found along with petrol bombs in a house near the Ardoyne but no evidence of this was provided. Speculation in the media as to who was responsible for the cache pointed the finger of blame at what they termed “dissident Republicans” without providing a shred of evidence. A BBC reporter claimed that he saw “a masked youth fire a shot at the police”. The RUC also claimed that a hunting rifle was handed to them after a group of children were found playing with it.

About 150 RUC members in riot gear charged into protestors in the Ardoyne area of Belfast who had gathered to prevent the controversial Orange parade, returning from a rally in the city centre, through their area. Armed with shields and clubs and water cannons directed on to the demonstrators, the RUC forced through the march by about 1,000 members of the Orange Order.

More than 3,000 Orangemen and their supporters, protected by the RUC, took to the streets of Derry for the first 'Twelfth' parade to be held in the city since 2005.

According to reports eleven petrol bombs were thrown during disturbances close to the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, The Diamond, Butchers Gate and the Fountain Estate in Derry. Trouble flared as a number of bandsmen became involved in verbal exchanges with young nationalists and a bandsman hit out at protestors with his baton.

Three RUC men were injured in Rasharkin, north Antrim, a mainly nationalist village in Co Antrim, when petrol bombs, fireworks and stones were thrown at them. The missiles were thrown by gangs of hooded nationalist youths who had gathered at the Carnfinton estate in the heart of the village. The teens erected a steel barricade at one end of the estate to prevent anyone, including the RUC/PSNI, from entering the area.

Land Rovers blocked the other exits and came under a steady attack. As the Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors band passed through the village, stones and golf balls were hurled from Rhencullen Park. The trouble followed a spate of sectarian attacks in the area over the weekend. Graffiti was daubed on an Orange hall at Main Street in Rasharkin and an Ancient Order of Hibernians hall was broken into in the Rosnashane area outside Ballymoney. Last week, the Catholic Church in Rasharkin was attacked with paint bombs. One protestant family moved out of the area after they had been targeted over several months.
An explosion in the Friary Road area of Armagh caused no injuries. Rioting broke out when the RUC were investigating the incident and several cars were set alight and petrol bombs thrown. Four arrests were made.

On July 11 an Orange Order parade took place in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal. Donegal County Council was officially represented at the event for the first time ever when county manager Michael McLoone was a special guest at a pre-parade lunch. On the route of the march signs were painted on the road which read “Brits out” and “No marching” across the main street in the nearby village of Ballintra, where a local Orange Lodge held a short march before joining the main Rossnowlagh event. Up to 12,000 supporters and 30 bands took part in or watched the Rossnowlagh march which ended in the sand dunes on the edge of Donegal Bay.

In the early hours of Tuesday July 15, RUC and Army bomb disposal experts were called to a security alert in Lurgan, County Armagh. It was sparked by a suspicious object in a car that was hijacked earlier. It was later declared a hoax.

Damage was caused to the door of a church hall in High Street, Newtownbutler on Monday July 13. Earlier, a tyre was set alight and placed against the front door of Wattlebridge Orange Hall and set alight.

Gerry Kelly, Provisional MLA, accused of felon setting by a former colleague, verbally attacked and named four groups he believed were “to blame for the trouble” and said they were all “anti [Belfast] agreement” and that …“a number of groups…sent people over here [to Ardoyne] with the sole aim to cause riots''

In a Platform article in the Irish News on July 17, Gerry Kelly again named four groups that he considered were responsible for the rioting in Belfast along with “various other members of nefarious organisations’. “Add the fact that a loaded rifle was found by children in a nearby entry – then we are entitled to ask about the planned intent,” he said. Despite no evidence of any sort – even the RUC didn’t go that far – Gerry Kelly accuses the groups he mentioned of bringing in a weapon.

He challenged the four groups to “explain what their strategy is. I think the republican and nationalist people have a right to know”. Gerry Kelly’s memory is as short as it is selective. Now Kelly is ‘bedded in’ with the RUC he and his colleagues have taken on the mantle of the poacher turned gamekeeper with relish.

Another Provo spokesperson, who declined to be named, said that those responsible "are not republicans, they're hoods…we need to ensure these people are brought to book for this anti-social behaviour."

A spokesperson for the Committee for Administration of Justice (CAJ) said on July 16 that there was no justification for the firing of plastic bullets.
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