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North Ireland Parade Ends in Violence

July 08, 2002|From Reuters

DRUMCREE, Northern Ireland — Police fired plastic bullets and turned a water cannon on stone-throwing Protestant rioters Sunday as the most volatile parade of Northern Ireland's marching season ended in violence.

At least 24 officers and two protesters were injured in the hourlong melee in the village of Drumcree. Protestants, furious that they were barred from marching past Roman Catholic homes, hurled stones, bricks, sticks and bottles.

"You scum! This is our road, you can't stop us!" one protester yelled.

The riot was the latest example of the violence in Northern Ireland that is jeopardizing the British-ruled province's peace process under the 1998 Good Friday accord.

The violence occurred during a march by about 1,300 members of the hard-line Orange Order, named after Protestant King William of Orange. The parade was the start of a week of Protestant celebrations to mark William's Battle of the Boyne victory in 1690 over Catholic King James II.

Catholics view the marches as provocative "triumphalism."

"We feel intimidated and aggrieved, locked into our own community," said Joe Duffy, a leader of the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition.

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