82 Police Hurt as Northern Ireland Rioting Continues (Video)
Belfast Riots: Orange Order March Leads to Northern Ireland Unrest
82 police officers were injured during riots in Ardoyne, northern Belfast, following the July 12 Orange Order march. The violence was sparked as anti-Loyalist protestors tried to prevent the procession from making its way through the neighborhood, which is predominantly Roman Catholic. At the moment, a third night of rioting is underway.
Critics are calling this a breakdown of the power-sharing agreement, even as Northern Ireland took over local policing just this year.
This sort of violence was a predictable part of the calendar year before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, which established the Northern Ireland Assembly and ostensibly ending The Troubles.
The Troubles, in a very small nutshell, refer to the conflict between Roman Catholic nationalists, who want Northern Ireland to exist as an independent nation, and the Protestant Loyalists, who self-identify as British subjects. The whole story is far more complex, reaching down through national and regional issues into neighborhood and family histories.
The order, a Protestant fraternal organization, has been a bulwark of Protestant — and British — supremacy in the six northern counties of Ireland. It stages its marches on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when the victory by the Protestant English king, William of Orange, secured British dominion in Ireland for more than 200 years.