Northern Ireland news

Cluan Place bonfire toppled and taken away

  Cluan Place bonfire is pushed over by machinery before being removed from the site. Pictures by Mal McCann
Digital Staff

CONTRACTORS have removed a second bonfire in east Belfast under police guard.

The bonfire in Cluan Place was dismantled by contractors wearing face coverings to protect their identity with the PSNI saying the pyre had posed "a significant risk to people and property in the area".

A line of PSNI Land Rovers parked on Albertbridge Road which is around a mile from the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire which is also being removed today.

Pallets were loaded on to a lorry by a forklift truck.

Contractors took several hours to clear the site, guarded by riot police, as dozens of people looked on. 

Video from the scene:

A police spokesman said there were no plans for any other bonfires to be dismantled.

"We are aware of speculation that contractors will be removing materials from other sites in and around the east of the city," he said.

"This is not the case.

"The operations at Bloomfield Walk and Cluan Place are necessary to protect nearby buildings and residents who live in the areas."

The PSNI said it was "attending Cluan Place bonfire to support contractors tasked with clearing a bonfire that poses a significant risk to people and property in the area".

"We will support contractors to complete this task speedily and with minimum disruption to the community."

Contractors load pallets on to a lorry

Former DUP councillor Ruth Patterson told the Irish News there had never been trouble connected to the Cluan Place bonfire and no buildings had ever been damaged. She said the decision to remove the bonfire was part of an agenda being driven by individuals on Belfast City Council and within the PSNI. 

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers, independent unionist councillor Jolene Bunting and prominent loyalist Jamie Bryson were also at the scene.

Several people at the scene complained that stones were being thrown into the road from mainly nationalist Short Strand.

Earlier today, Sinn Féin said a device was thrown into the Clandeboye area of Short Strand.

Councillor Mairead O’Donnell said the device was thrown over a wall at the interface.

“This was a reckless indiscriminate attack on homes in Clandeboye and it’s fortunate that no one has been injured," she said.

She added: "I unreservedly condemn this sectarian attack on the residents of the Short Strand and I urge anyone with any influence in the community to come out strongly against those behind this cowardly attack.

"This attack has naturally raised tensions in the local community and I am calling on people to remain calm."

A police spokesman said they received reports that several missiles have been thrown in the area of Cluan Place. They are also investigating reports of a loud bang.

 

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 Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

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