Black Balloons Over Belfast

Protestant Orangemen commemorated their biggest holiday Monday, chastened and divided by the deaths of three Catholic boys in the turmoil surrounding Protestant defiance of a government order to change one parade route.

Two men were arrested in connection with the firebombing Sunday that killed the Quinn brothers: Richard, 10, Mark, 9, and Jason, 7. The boys died in their home in a Protestant area of Ballymoney, 40 miles northwest of Belfast. The children's Catholic mother, Chrissy Quinn, and her Protestant companion escaped safely.

CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports on the impact of the tragic death of the three little boys:

It sounded like a funeral procession and in a way it was. The Protestant Orange Order held its annual parades Monday - going in part where it isn't wanted - through a Catholic neighborhood in Belfast.

Local residents lined the route in silent protest, holding black flags and releasing black balloons in memory of the three young Catholic boys who'd been firebombed in their beds over the weekend. It was a defiant march through a tunnel of seething anger.

At the charred house where the boys died, neighbors - many of them Protestants - laid flowers. Moderate people here are shocked at what this fever of sectarian hatred has caused.

"I'm ashamed to be a Protestant today," said one woman.

The Belfast march passed off peacefully, the bands taking up their patriotic tunes again as agreed once they were through the Catholic area.

But peaceful is not what it's been for more then a week now in Drumcree where the bands returned as well today.

Drumcree has been a battle zone for a week. Hardcore Protestant crowds confronting security forces and saying they'll stay until they can continue their outlawed march through a Catholic area here.

They've ignored appeals from all sides, including their own political and religious leadership, to leave and allow tensions to cool.

Just how deep the divisions are running between Protestants were on full view Monday as those opposed to the Drumcree protest actually came to blows with those supporting it.

This battle of the bands has taken a sinister turn. It's already apparently cost the lives of children. Now it's isolating an ever more radical and desperate element.

This marching season has already devastated one family and fanned passions to dangerous levels. Its effects will linger long after the music fades.

The 12th of July is the biggest Orange holiday, celebrating the defeat of the Catholic King James II by the Protestant William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Many Catholics consider the Protestant marches a provocative confirmation of their minority status in Northern Ireland.

Some prominent Orangemen, stunned by the killings of the Catholic boys, called for an end to the week-long confrontation between marchers and security forces near Portadown.

"After last night's attak, a 15-minute walk down Garvaghy Road by the Orange Order would be a very hollow victory because it would be in the shadow of the coffins of three little boys who wouldn't even know what the Orange Order is about," said the Rev. William Bingham, chaplain to the Orange Order in County Armagh.