A man adds the finishing touch to a huge bonfire in the New Mossley area on the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Hundreds of fires will be set alight at midnight, on July 11, as Protestant loyalist’s celebrate July 12, to mark the defeat of the Catholic King James, by the Protestant William of Orange in 1690. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Shouting “No surrender!” and singing anti-Catholic songs, Protestant hardliners across Northern Ireland burned midnight bonfires topped with Irish flags and prepared to parade past Catholic areas Friday in an annual test for the British territory’s peace process.
Northern Ireland leaders appealed for calm and police braced for trouble on “the Twelfth,” an annual sectarian holiday that always inflames tensions with the Catholic minority. At least two Protestants were arrested during bottle-throwing skirmishes with police near the scene of several Belfast bonfires early Friday.
The police commander, Chief Constable Matt Baggott, took the unusual step of importing 630 police officers from England and Scotland to beef up his own 7,000-member force. The officers have already Login to read more