Video: Police increase patrols after building and cars torched following removal of bonfire material
POLICE patrols have been stepped up after violence flared in parts of Belfast yesterday following the removal of bonfire material by the council.
A building on the Falls Road was torched after 10pm last night and youths attempted to hijack buses in the area of west Belfast. Last night’s violence came hours after around 40 teenagers, some wearing balaclavas, set fire to cars and attacked police in the Markets area of south Belfast.
Gangs of young people were involved in running battles with police in the Friendly Street and Stewart Street areas.
Trouble continued in the area last night, with petrol bombs and stones thrown and a heavy police presence.
Youths set fire to cars which had been damaged in earlier disturbances.
Small groups of youths from nearby Short Strand in east Belfast were later involved in a standoff with loyalist youths from lower Newtownards Road.
Earlier yesterday four cars, all belonging to city centre workers, were set on fire on Stewart Street.
Other cars were also damaged. People returning after work were brought to their cars in the back of police Land Rovers before driving away as crowds of youths continued to throw stones and bottles.
By 10pm police had reported no arrests. The trouble began early yesterday after bonfire material was removed.
Shortly after 5am contractors hired by the council moved in to remove wood from an anti-internment bonfire site in the Markets.
Wood and other material was removed from a bonfire site in the Divis area of west Belfast in a dawn operation with workers supported by riot police. Sinn Féin councillor for the Markets, Deirdre Hargey said it amounted to “mindless vandalism”. “The community does not want this type of behaviour and it’s not representative of the people of this area,” she said.