BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Police say they have arrested eight Irish nationalist men involved in Belfast rioting hours before the start of Protestant parades by the Orange Order brotherhood, an annual event that usually strains Northern Ireland's sectarian tensions.
Thursday's arrests happened in the Broadway section of Catholic west Belfast, a rallying point for Catholic men and teenage boys seeking confrontation with police. Police say several officers suffered minor injuries from hurled stones, bricks and bottles.
The trouble flared as tens of thousands of Protestants gathered around midnight bonfires that precede the annual Orange Order parades on the Twelfth, an official holiday in Northern Ireland.
Police are braced for trouble Thursday night when Orangemen pass Ardoyne, an Irish nationalist district in Belfast that has spawned riots for the past three Twelfths.