A number of police officers have been injured after loyalists rioted in Belfast when a contentious Orange Order parade was halted.

The disturbances broke out at a volatile community interface in the north of the city as police prevented Orangemen and loyalist bands marching from the unionist Woodvale area toward the nationalist Ardoyne.

As loyalists attacked police on the unionist side of the police line, on the nationalist side a teenage girl standing in a crowd was injured when she was apparently struck by a car. The driver has been arrested. 

At least eight officers were injured in tonight's violence at the notorious sectarian flashpoint. A tense stand-off continued tonight. Police deployed water canon in a bid to quell the loyalist unrest.

At the Ardoyne, there were chaotic scenes as police reportedly lifted the car off the injured 16-year-old girl.

The Orange Order condemned the rioters and appealed for calm. "Those involved in violence should desist," said a spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

"It is not only counter-productive but also plain wrong. Such actions are only strengthening the hand of those who wish to further curtail our parades. We call on anyone engaged in illegal behaviour to stop immediately," he said. 

Riot squad officers from the PSNI bore the brunt of loyalist anger when they blocked access to the contested stretch of the Crumlin Road.

Within minutes of the parade reaching the police lines this evening, empty bottles, bricks and metal bolts were thrown at police.

At one point a number of loyalists broke through police barricades and started dancing on the bonnets of PSNI armoured land rovers.

Women and children mixed among the bandsmen and Orange Orange members in the crowd barracking the police lines.

The violence followed a day of largely peaceful 12th of July holiday loyal order parades across Northern Ireland - the highlight of the loyalist marching season.

There was a report of a bus carrying Orangemen being stoned in Greysteel, in Derry and police said a female officer was assaulted in Belfast city centre this afternoon.

A massive security operation had been mounted at the Woodvale/Ardoyne sectarian interface, where dissident republicans have gathered to attack police in the past.

The Government-appointed Parades Commission - set up to rule on contentious marches - had issued a determination barring Orangemen from a section of the Crumlin Road.

Last year there was no rioting but, in 2013 - when restrictions were first imposed on the Orange parade - mass violence erupted in the unionist Woodvale area.

Since then, loyalists have manned a protest camp and staged nightly parades at Woodvale, requiring a policing operation costing millions.

In previous years republicans rioted when the parade was allowed to pass up the road on the way back from Belfast's main 12th commemoration.

Ahead of the 12th senior police commanders expressed concern that Orange Order and other loyalist groups had withdrawn marshals who helped keep the peace last year.

Unlike last year, there was not a joint call from a broad range of unionist and loyalist political parties, including two with links to paramilitary groups, for the 12th to pass off peacefully and lawfully.

However, there were calls for calm from individual political representatives and leaders of the Orange institution.