Monday 12 September 2005

I drove to work today.

Nothing particularly remarkable about driving to work. But the reason I was able to do so was that no-one set fire to my car last night. Right now, that's beginning to look a bit lucky.

Belfast is being decimated by some of its worst riots in years.

Fifty police officers were injured in relentless weekend rioting across Belfast and beyond, it emerged today.

Loyalist gunmen opened fire on police and soldiers for two nights running as the city's streets were turned into a war zone.

Blast, petrol and paint bombs were hurled at security lines throughout Belfast and parts of Co Antrim and Co Down.

At least 18 more officers were injured overnight after 32 were wounded during the first night of violence linked to an Orange Order march re-routed away from Catholic homes.

They were pelted with petrol bombs and paint by a 700-strong mob on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast, where a digger was hijacked and used to flatten street lights.


Cars and vans were hijacked and set on fire throughout Belfast, while in Bangor, Co Down, a bus was burnt out by men who robbed passengers and ordered them out.

That bus was hijacked in my street. I didn't notice a thing. But still. Bangor's not a trouble-spot. This is bad.

Right now, Belfast city centre is simply being shut down: people who work there are being sent home. Plant hire firms have been broken into and bulldozers stolen, to be used later on.

And you know what? This is a great place to live. Really.


Well, no wonder we didn't notice anything. The bus was nowhere near Bangor, but was technically, for news-reporting purposes, in the geographical area that map-makers call "Bangor". After being robbed, the passengers were dropped off at the Clandeboye Road, which is in Bangor, but that's not where the gunmen actually got on the bus.

It's a beautiful evening. No, really.

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