Three people died from gunshot wounds during rioting between Protestants and Catholics in Belfast on Saturday (June 27).
Three people died from gunshot wounds during rioting between Protestants and Catholics in Belfast on Saturday (June 27). The gunfire broke out after some 10,000 Protestants paraded through the streets aggravating the tension which had been building up in Northern Ireland since Friday's arrest of Catholic M.P., Miss Bernadette Devlin for taking part in riots in Londonderry last August.
Eight companies of troops were deployed along the one-mile procession route of the parade; most of those participating were members of the Protestant Orange Lodge.
The fighting began when rival Catholic and Protestant groups threw stones at each other, and soon bottles and petrol bombs were being exchanged. British troops fired CS gas into the crowd in an attempt to separate the rioters.
Gunfire broke out later from the civilian crowds, although it is not clear how it started. A spokesman for the Army says that none of the troops opened fire during the afternoon. As the snipers' fire continued, the troops stood four-deep, protected by visors and helmets.
A Northern Ireland security officer said that the three people who died were all civilians, two of whom died before arriving at the hospital and one an hour after being admitted.
The Royal Victoria Hospital reported that it was treating over 40 people - civilians and soldiers - for gunshot wounds, but said that the total number of casualties they were treating was too large to estimate.
Fires broke out throughout the city as shops were set on fire, among them a large store block in the city's centre. Firemen fought to control the blaze.