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BELFAST BURNING; 1000 rioters pelt police and troops with petrol bombs over Orange parade ban.

Byline: By MARION SCOTT

BELFAST descended into mayhem last night in scenes that Northern Ireland thought had been relegated to its bloody history.

Violence flared in the wake of a re-routed Orange walk.

More than 1000 rioters were involved in clashes in the Shankill Road area, as Loyalist gunmen opened fire.

Dozens of police, soldiers and civilians were injured as a barrage of petrol bombs set the streets ablaze.

Riot police and troops used plastic bullets and water cannon in attempts to quell the mayhem.

Vast sections of Belfast city centre became a no-go area as the violence spread, leaving at least six police officers injured. The fighting began after authorities blocked the Orange Order from parading past the hard-line Catholic end of the disputed Springfield Road.

Three police officers were hurt in the first clash as Loyalists hurled homemade grenades and petrol bombs.

Police were forced to take cover behind armoured vehicles after hearing bursts of automatic gunfire.

Masked mobs also blocked several key roads in protest against the decision to change the route of the march.

Police said members of two outlawed organisations, the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force, were involved.

Democratic Unionist Party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley said: "The Parades Commission are to blame for the mess that has been created.

"They treated elected representatives with contempt

CAPTION(S):

Mayhem; Burning barricades block the Shankill Road area; Riot: Orangeman runs for cover as police fire water cannon; Battle; Soldier uses plastic bullets
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 2005
Words:249
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