Northern Ireland news

Police come under attack from youths in fresh loyalist disturbances

A fire on the Shankill Road in west Belfast during further unrest. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

POLICE came under attack from youths in fresh disturbances last night as loyalist protests resumed.

A fire was also started in the middle of the Shankill Road, close to where a Metro bus was hijacked and set alight earlier this month.

A crowd of mainly boys and young men gathered at Lanark Way and the Shankill Road in the city.

Police were targeted by youths throwing missiles.

The PSNI said officers were continuing to monitor the area late last night.

Loyalist protests had resumed in several areas, including in Newtownards and Bangor, Co Down.

Protesters held illegal parades and waved banners showing their opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Brexit agreement which has created a trade border between Britain and the north.

Violence on the Shankill Road in west Belfast. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

Loyalists have also been unhappy at the decision not to prosecute any Sinn Féin members over their attendance at the funeral of veteran republican Bobby Storey in June last year.

Previous protests sparked violence over Easter, with riots in several areas including Belfast, Derry and Newtownabbey.

Eighty-eight PSNI officers were injured and children as young as 13 were among those arrested.

Youths throwing missiles during further unrest on the Shankill Road in west Belfast. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

The worst of the violence happened at Lanark Way on April 7 and 8 when police used plastic bullets and water cannon against rioters.

Protests were paused following the death of Prince Philip but resumed last night.

Earlier yesterday, the Loyalist Communities Council - an umbrella group representing loyalist paramilitary groups - organised a small anti-protocol demonstration outside Irish government offices in Belfast.

However, the demonstration was disrupted by Gareth McCord, whose brother Raymond was beaten to death by a UVF gang in north Belfast in 1997.

On Sunday evening, anti-protocol banners were put up in several loyalist areas across the north.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald urged loyalists yesterday to reconsider holding protests.

"I would just appeal to people to demonstrate a level of consideration for their neighbours, for their own communities, and for society more widely and I would ask that those that are organising or planning protests actually think again," she said.

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Northern Ireland news