Seven police injured in Belfast riots

AT least seven police officers have been injured in rioting in several parts of Belfast.

The trouble started shortly before tonight after police removed flags of pro-British paramilitary groups flying ahead of the July 12 peak of the marching season, a time of annual parades by Protestants that often trigger Catholic protests.

At least seven officers were injured in street clashes that gathered pace as Protestants lit scores of towering bonfires and Catholic militants clashed with police.

Tens of thousands of members of the Protestant brotherhood, the Orange Order, plan to march today.

In the worst clash, police faced a 200-strong crowd of men and youths who tossed Molotov cocktails, bottles and stones at the edge of Catholic west Belfast.

Police responded with plastic bullets and blasts from mobile water cannons.

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