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Northern Ireland news

Party leaders make joint appeal for calm amid recent violence

The burning remains of a bonfire on Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

THE leaders of the north's main political parties have issued a joint statement to appeal for calm amid violence in Belfast and Derry this week.

In an unusual move ahead of tomorrow's Twelfth demonstrations, leaders including the DUP's Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill jointly said all attacks must end.

They issued the statement just hours after shots were fired as part of a "murder bid" on police in Derry.

Loyalists also attacked police during a stand-off at the controversial Bloomfield Walkway bonfire site in east Belfast.

DUP leader Arlene Foster

The joint statement read:

“Attacks on the police have been on-going for a number of days alongside other violence including sectarian attacks on houses, petrol bombs thrown at the police, intimidation of contractors, vehicles hi-jacked and attacks on sheltered accommodation.

“The shots fired last night were a clear and obvious attempt to murder police officers. There must be a strong, clear and united voice against those who would engage in such disgraceful violence.

“As a society we must all stand with those who maintain law and order and who protect all sides of our community.

Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill

“We condemn any illegal activity and and urge those who are damaging their own community and intimidating their neighbours to stop. We would urge people to work with the police to bring those involved in criminality to justice.

“We want to see a society where people can live together without the threat of intimidation or violence. 

"Those who engage in such tactics must be shown that they will not succeed.”

Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP also condemned the shots fired at police in Derry.

"This murderous attack has to be condemned by all right thinking individuals," Mrs Bradley said.

"I would call on all people of influence within the community to continue their efforts to encourage dialogue and reduce tensions."

Riot police at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast following a confrontation with loyalists. Picture by Mal McCann

A burning van in Derry's Bogside. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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