More Drumcree arrests expected

Police were expected to make more arrests today following the trouble at Drumcree which left 31 police officers injured.

Police were expected to make more arrests today following the trouble at Drumcree which left 31 police officers injured.

And last night three men were arrested under suspicion of public order offences after rioting broke out in Drumcree at 11pm.

Police said that around 150 to 200 people gathered from around 8pm but they were peaceful and most had drifted away by 10pm, leaving a smaller group of men and youths.

A small number of these later began throwing stones and fireworks at the security barrier, and a flare was discharged.

But a police spokesman said that at midnight the group left and dispersed, when police at checkpoints searched a number of cars and made three arrests.

He said nobody was hurt and the area was later reported to be quiet.

Before last night, eight men had been arrested and questioned in connection with rioting after Orangemen were prevented from marching down the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White, the officer in charge of the security operation, said several of the troublemakers had yet to be questioned. But some of them had already been identified.

‘‘There are a number of people who have been identified and there are others who will be identified,’’ he said.

‘‘Members of the public have already called us to tell us who these people are. So, for those who engaged in violence right from the start, there will be a price to pay.’’

Three men, charged at Craigavon court yesterday with riotous assembly after the parade, are due to apply for bail at the High Court in Belfast today.

David Cully, 43, from Gosford Gardens, Markethill, Co Armagh, Alan Cheney, 17, of Rogan Manor, Glengormley, Co Antrim, and Mark Wilson, 37, of The Beeches, Maghera, Co Derry, were all remanded in custody until July 25.

Meanwhile, attention switched to Belfast, where two contentious Twelfth of July parades were given the go-ahead.

Republicans reacted with anger after the Parades Commission allowed two marches passing through the nationalist Ardoyne area of north Belfast and the Springfield Road area of west Belfast.

A third contentious parade has been banned from passing along the nationalist lower Ormeau Road area, scene of violent incidents in the past number of years.

The Ardoyne Road decision was condemned by Sinn Fein councillor for the area Margaret McClenaghan.

‘‘It is a bad decision, especially after what happened here last year. The Orange Order have yet to speak to any residents group in this area.’’

‘‘They don’t seem to have to talk to anyone and can walk down any road they like without consultation with the host community,’’ she added.

But it was welcomed by Democratic Unionist councillor Nelson McCausland, who called for a heavy police presence in the area on the day of the march.

‘‘Sinn Fein wanted this re-routed but there is no other route through this area,’’ he said.

‘‘I hope there will be a very strong police presence on the Twelfth in view of the appalling attacks by republicans last year both on the police and the parade.’’

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