Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has said that video evidence clearly shows that the Orange Order orchestrated violence this weekend and Orangemen led attacks on the police.
Speaking after a meeting with the Chief Constable at which he reviewed video evidence of Saturday’s violence, David Ford said:
“There is clear video evidence of the parade breaking up into a number of illegal groupings and of members of the Orange Order removing collarettes and attacking police officers. I have urged the Chief Constable to ensure adequate resources are deployed to make early arrests using this video evidence.
“It is important to be clear where responsibility for this violence truly lies. It cannot be masked or justified by talk of social deprivation. What we witnessed over the weekend was not deprivation, but depravity. It is part of a political agenda of undermining the parades commission and attacking the police. The vast majority of decent people living in deprived communities lead their lives with a respect for the law, and a desire to build a future for themselves and their families and many were terrorised in their homes whilst the violence raged on the streets outside.
“Responsibility for the violence lies with the Orange Order who called people out on the streets in the first place, in full knowledge of warnings issued by the police about the potential for widespread violence, and who then deliberately extended police lines, and also with the paramilitaries that exploited the situation with what was clearly well-planned violence across large parts of Northern Ireland.
“The refusal of Dawson Bailie to condemn the violence today is further evidence that he knew precisely what he was calling for when he invited people on to the streets. All those involved in breaching the law, from Orange District Officers through to those attacking the police, should be made amenable to the law.
“It is incredible that an organisation that is supposed to be about upholding the British Constitution would attempt to subvert it in such a way. Any suggestion that they will deal with it internally has echoes of the IRA’s response to the murder of Robert McCartney: it was not acceptable then, it is not acceptable now. Dawson Bailie’s position is morally bankrupt and he should resign.
“For unionist politicians to attempt to blame the police for what happened is utterly shameful. To brand police action as ‘heavy-handed’ as they tried to uphold law and order in a context in which they were being shot at by paramilitaries, and sustaining heavy casualties, is grossly insulting and further highlights the glaring hypocrisy of unionism in confronting loyalist violence.”