(Updates with lawmaker’s comments in third paragraph.)
June 21 (Bloomberg) -- Northern Ireland police said shots were fired and two men were taken to hospital with gunshot injuries during “major” rioting in east Belfast between Catholics and Protestants which began late yesterday.
“Petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks, stones and smoke bombs were fired during major disorder last night,” a police spokeswoman said in a recorded message today. “It is understood a number of shots were fired from both sides.”
“It was exceptionally serious and I undoubtedly witnessed orchestrated violence,” Conall McDevitt, a lawmaker with the Social Democratic & Labour Party, said in an e-mailed statement. Everybody in the community with “political and faith leadership roles” should work together “to assure that this situation is defused,” he said.
Tension between Catholic and Protestant communities in Belfast rises at this time of year as parades celebrating a 17th century victory over Catholics increase, culminating in hundreds of marches on July 12. East Belfast is predominantly Protestant while the Short Strand area is a Catholic enclave within the district.
In a separate incident, a bomb was thrown at a police patrol in west Belfast in the early hours of today, police said. No-one was injured in the attack.
To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at email@example.com