Northern Ireland news

Police attacked and car set on fire as pockets of violence flare up again

 A sign on the corner of the Shankill Road and Lanark Way in Belfast calling for the postponement of ongoing protest as a mark of respect, following the the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Picture date: Friday April 9, 2021.
James Ward, PA

Police have been attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire as small pockets of unrest flared again in Northern Ireland.

PSNI officers have attended the scene at Tiger Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast with riot vans and police dogs in tow.

Some officers have come under attack, with missiles such as stones and bottles thrown at them, and reports of petrol bombs being used.

There is a heavy police presence in the area, with reports that stones were also thrown at police in the nearby, nationalist area New Lodge.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Muir Clarke said: “We would appeal for calm in the area and ask anyone who has any influence in communities, please use that influence to ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm tonight.”

There were sporadic incidents of unrest in Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with reports of a road blocked off with a barricade which was then set alight in Coleraine, Derry.

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to participate in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: “We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family.

“The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning.”

Meanwhile, two men are due to appear in court on Saturday after being charged charged in connection with the rioting that took place in Lanark Way, west Belfast on Thursday night.

Detectives investigating the disorder have charged a 24-year-old man and a 32-year-old man with riot.

The 32-year-old was also charged with possession of a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances.

They are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court at around 10.30am.

As is usual procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

Earlier, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill voiced her concern that the violence of recent days will continue throughout the weekend.

The Sinn Féin vice president said: “I’m worried about the weekend ahead. We all need to be very careful and very consciously try to do all we can to prevent this happening.

“I hope and I urge all young people to not engage, do not allow yourself to be used or manipulated in any sort of way, and to stay off the streets, stay home and stay safe.”

She added: “I think there’s a strong role here for the two governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I made that point to (Secretary of State) Brandon Lewis this morning.

“It’s really, really important that we stand shoulder to shoulder and say no to this type of criminal behaviour, and that we don’t allow our children to be sucked in by criminal gangs who are orchestrating some of what we see on our streets.”

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Northern Ireland news