Police attacked with petrol bombs in fresh Belfast unrest

LONDON (AFP) - Police were attacked with petrol bombs and a French press photographer assaulted during a fifth night of violence on the streets of east Belfast, police said.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday night as large crowds gathered on the city's on the Lower Newtownards Road, the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) said.

A police vehicle was struck by two petrol bombs and a number of other missiles, but there were no reports of any injuries, police said.

The French photographer who was assaulted also had his camera stolen.

Four cars were hijacked and set on fire and in the latest wave of unrest.

Trouble also flared in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast and in the Woodvale Road and North Queen Street areas.

The clashes began on Friday after police tried to enforce a decision banning the Orange Order from marching through a Catholic republican area of the Northern Ireland capital.

About a thousand police officers from mainland Britain had been sent to Northern Ireland in anticipation of tensions over the traditional Twelfth of July parades.

That event is the climax of the Protestant Orange Order's marching season.

The July 12 parade marks the victory of Protestant king William III of Orange over the deposed Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

It is a flashpoint for tensions between the Protestant and Catholic communities in the province.

Northern Ireland was devastated by three decades of sectarian violence in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

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