Violence flared for a second consecutive night around traditional Orange Day parades in Northern Ireland, with police coming under attack from petrol bombs, fireworks, stones and bottles, and responding with water cannon, the Reuters website reports today (August 9, 2013).
One police officer was engulfed in flames when struck by a petrol bomb, but it was quickly extinguished by colleagues. The officer remained on duty after being examined by medical personnel, a spokesman said.
Thousands of pro-British Protestants march every summer in the British province, a regular flashpoint for sectarian violence as Catholics -- many of whom favor the unification of Northern Ireland with Ireland -- see the parades as a provocation.
Violence between Catholics and Protestants still occasionally flares since a peace agreement was signed in 1998, which largely ended three decades of strife between the two religious groups. Much of Belfast -- the capital of Northern Ireland -- remains divided along religious and nationalist lines.