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from Photographers' Blog:

Weapons at hand

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Belfast, Northern Ireland

By Cathal McNaughton

As I was driving home one night after covering civil unrest in Belfast, I looked at the objects sitting on the passenger seat. There was a golf ball and two snooker balls: objects thrown at members of the police and media by rioters.

I decided that it would be interesting to see how many of these items I could collect over the coming months at the various riots that were sure to follow. The idea was interesting but the difficulty was going to be adding some life to these inanimate objects. They ranged from the ridiculous (a ball covered in insulating tape) to the lethal (a petrol bomb and a hammer).

There were some things I could not collect, such as scaffolding and even a bedside cabinet, due to their size and the dangers of trying to retrieve them.

In the end, I got members of the community to hold the items in an attempt to show how everyone, young and old, male and female, is touched by the continued sectarian trouble between Catholic nationalists who want union with Ireland and mainly Protestant loyalists who want to stay in the United Kingdom. The police service here has spent more than £15 million ($24 million) policing parades and protests since April this year and 689 officers have been injured in such disorder since July 2012.

from Photographers' Blog:

The trouble with Northern Ireland

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Tradition is something that is celebrated, enjoyed and handed down to the next generation, but in the small corner of western Europe where I was born, it has led to shootings and bombings and the loss of thousands of lives.

For 16 years I’ve worked as a photographer covering ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and in this time I’ve come to realize that what one side of the political and religious divide sees as celebration, the other sees as triumphalism.

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