Britain sending more troops to combat Northern Ireland mayhe

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — After two straight nights of Protestant rioting, Britain decided Tuesday to send hundreds more troops into Northern Ireland to intercept mobs that were hijacking cars, attacking police and erecting flaming barricades.
The widespread unrest is aimed at overturning a ban on a Protestant march through a Catholic neighborhood.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to meet leaders of the 80,000-strong Protestant Orange Order to discuss whether its members can parade through the main Catholic enclave of Portadown, the group’s spiritual heartland southwest of Belfast.
In Portadown, several hundred would-be marchers remained camped in tents Tuesday outside the rural Drumcree Anglican church, where extensive barbed-wire barricades prevented their annual parade Sunday from going near Catholic homes along Garvaghy Road.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary calculated that, from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning across the province, 42 police officers were wounded, 101 vehicles were set on fire and used as road barricades, 213 other cars were damaged, 110 homes and other buildings vandalized, and 63 rioters arrested.
Police said joint police and army patrols were barraged by gasoline bombs on 330 separate occasions. They had no statistics for wounded rioters or soldiers, who support the 13,000-member police force. The army announced Tuesday it would reinforce its 18,000-member garrison in Northern Ireland with two battalions from England, or about 800 soldiers.
The Orange Order’s leaders insisted that, despite organizing mass protests against the authorities for blocking their Portadown march, they were not responsible for the Protestant riots.