Church leaders condemn Belfast school protest

 Catholic and Protestant church leaders have appealed for an end to the demonstrations in Belfast, over the route Catholic children take to school in a Protestant area. For the second day in a row, terrified little girls as young as four, were escorted along the Ardoyne Road, to and from Holy Cross primary school by security forces in riot gear, as violent protesters shouted and threw stones. Other pupils took an alternative route to the school through the grounds of the nearby St Gabriel's Secondary School. Church of Ireland Primate Dr Robin Eames condemned the violent scenes. He told reporters: "Throughout the Troubles, schools of all denominations have been havens. Children have been secure there. To see children sucked into our Troubles in this way is absolutely deplorable. I utterly condemn this sort of action against innocent little children." The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Patrick Walsh, said he was "reassured to hear the other church leaders speak so powerfully about this situation. It is very important that we should speak strongly at this present time and call a halt to this. It must stop." Holy Cross school is situated near the small Protestant Glenbryn enclave in the mainly nationalist Ardoyne area. There were also widespread disturbances near the school on Monday night as rival gangs of nationalists and loyalists attacked security force patrols in Ardoyne. The RUC said 21 officers have been injured in the trouble and shots were fired in the loyalist Hesketh Road area and also on the Limestone Road from a nationalist area. Houses on both sides of the community were also attacked.

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