THE BATTLE OF PORTADOWN

A 306-YEAR-OLD EVENT SPARKS NORTHERN IRELAND RIOTS

Viewed from one direction, the scene early last week in Portadown, Northern Ireland, evoked a country fair. The meadows surrounding the Protestant church Drumcree, 25 miles southwest of Belfast, were dotted with people, tents and a large marquee. But the sight on the opposite slopes was anything but bucolic. Two rows of razor wire separated the church and the main road into town. Behind this first barrier was a second: a gray wall of armored Land Rovers, parked nose to tail. And behind the second cordon was a third: a phalanx of policemen from the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

By week's end...

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