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Northern Ireland Officials: Belfast Riots Injure 32 Police and 2 Protesters

Burned-out cars littered the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday, evidence of some of the worst rioting by Protestant Christians in the British province in recent years.

Police officials said 32 officers were wounded in clashes with Protestant marchers that broke out Saturday and stretched into the morning hours. The officials said two rioters were also injured, and noted that 50 live rounds had been fired at police.

The violence began after authorities re-routed an annual Protestant march away from a Catholic enclave.

The commander of Northern Ireland's police, Chief Constable Hugh Orde blamed the disturbances on the Protestant Orange Order for urging its supporters to protest. The Order denied responsibility and blamed authorities for heavy-handed policing.

The Protestant "Orangemen" march annually at this time to commemorate a 1690 victory over Catholics.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.