**This is an excellent article because it explains the provocation that nationalists are subjected to by these Orange bastards. How would YOU like this up in your face at your doorstep in your neighbourhood?

Irish Echo Online

Watching a riot unfold
By Anne Cadwallader

The Woodvale Road began thumping to the sound of Orange drums. Loyalist politicians with dubious pasts like Billy Hutchinson, a former double-life sentence UVF man and Frank McCoubrey, with links to the UDA, strutted about importantly.

In the bright sunshine, Nigel Dodds of the DUP, the MP for North Belfast, wore his Orange sash proudly and smiled broadly. The atmosphere was relaxed. The police were dusting off the remaining few specks from the black helmets that complete their "Robo-Cop" riot attire.

We knew the Orangemen would be allowed to march past the Ardoyne shops flashpoint. But what of the loyalist bandsmen of the Ballysillan True Blues and the Pride of Ardoyne marching bands? And, more importantly, what of the group of about 500 drunken loyalist hangers-on, sporting heavy gold necklaces, large tattoos and union-jack bandanas?

What of the elderly loyalist lady clad in a mock nun's outfit? A bright orange nun's outfit?

The bandsmen climbed on board buses. The Orangemen lined up. So far so good. They made their way up towards Ardoyne where dozens of British army vehicles, equipped with 12-foot-high metal screens had penned its 7,000 inhabitants out of sight.

A few bottles sailed over each way. The Orangemen were up the road. What of the followers-on whom the Parades Commission had barred from the march. Would they stage a Drumcree-style stand-off? Would we see a tented village mushroom on the Woodvale Road?

Within seconds, we had our answer. Against all expectations - except those cynics who believed the Orange Order downgraded its threats on the back of a secret deal with the police - the loyalist crowd began moving through police lines, towards Ardoyne.

The hordes of waiting loyalists at the roundabout opposite the shops gave whoops of joy. Ardoyne's nationalists, caged like animals the other side of the impermeable screens, understood the message loud and clear. The loyalists were being forced past their doorsteps.

A hail of missiles flew either way. Loyalists joyfully waved UDA flags, sang "The Sash" as loud as they could, taunted Catholics in their gardens and on front doorsteps, inviting them to come out and fight. Two-fingered salutes and clenched fists were waved liberally in the air.

The raucous red-white-and-blue crowd made its way to where thousands of other loyalists were waiting in triumph. Ardoyne, realizing what had taken place, went berserk.

Leading republicans like Gerry Kelly and Bobby Storey, who have spent decades in jail for attacking the British state, found themselves desperately preventing furious youths assaulting soldiers and police.

Not for love of authority, but fearing that, given half an excuse, the police would love nothing more than a good, old-fashioned, unfair fight between bare fists and bottles - revolvers and plastic bullet guns.

One group of British soldiers, cut off from their fellows, were saved almost single-handedly by Storey, using his not inconsiderable bulk and political credibility to preserve them from a lynching. The water cannon came out, the riot lasted about 40 minutes.

At the end of it all, Gerry Kelly had a broken wrist, hit with a baton as he remonstrated with youths. Martin Morgan, the SDLP former Lord Mayor, was nearly in tears demanding a Police Ombudsman's inquiry. The streets were littered with glass, trees and flowers dragged from gardens.

The police withdrew, with Supt. David Boultwood explained to incredulous reporters that they had "policed the Parades Commission's determination" and enforced "human rights law".

The SDLP has a lot of explaining to do on how they can hold the police "accountable" for their actions. Sinn Fein is facing serious difficulties also, explaining how this could happen, 10 years into a peace process that was supposed to mean a new beginning.

The Orangemen, loyalists and their supporters had their victory, yet again. But at what cost to community relations?

This story appeared in the issue of July 14-20, 2004

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