Northern Ireland riots – Seven police hurt after petrol bomb attacks, street battles and scary bus hijack in Belfast

A NIGHT of violence in Northern Ireland has left seven police officers injured.

Riots broke out in Belfast overnight with petrol bomb attacks, running street battles and bus hijacking.

The bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, cops said.

It was one of a number of violent incidents unfolding on the peace line street that links the loyalist Shankill Road with the nationalist Springfield Road.

Writing on Twitter, Boris Johnson said: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

It follows several nights of unrest in loyalist communities amid tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI's handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.

Stones were thrown at police while a press photographer was assaulted nearby.

Later on, the gates of the peace line on Lanark Way were opened, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists.

Read our Belfast riots live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Tariq Tahir

    NORTHERN IRELAND VIOLENCE ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ SAYS STARMER

    Labour leader Keir Starmer has joined in the condemnation of the violence in Northern Ireland.

    "I'm very concerned by the violence we're seeing in Northern Ireland, it's completely unacceptable and can't be justified," Sir Keir said.

    "I myself worked in Northern Ireland with the policing board and I know the impact it was having on communities in Northern Ireland.”

  • Tariq Tahir

    NORTHERN IRELAND EXECUTIVE CALLS FOR 'CALM'

    The executive has called "for calm to be restored to our streets and an end to violent protests" following another night of rioting.

    “Destruction, violence and the threat of violence are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable, no matter what concerns may exist in communities.

    “While our political positions are very different on many issues, we are all united in our support for law and order and we collectively state our support for policing and for the police officers who have been putting themselves in harm’s way to protect others.”

    Credit: Pacemaker

     

  • Tariq Tahir

    PLEA TO STOP RIOTS BEFORE SOMEONE IS KILLED

    The violence in Northern Ireland must stop before somebody is killed, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said.

    “This needs to stop before somebody is killed or seriously injured,” Coveney told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

    “These are scenes we haven’t seen in Northern Ireland for a very long time, they are scenes that many people thought were consigned to history and I think there needs to be a collective effort to try to diffuse tension.”

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  • Tariq Tahir

    55 POLICE OFFICERS NOW INJURED

    PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said 55 police officers had been injured across several nights of disorder in Northern Ireland.

    Mr Roberts said multiple petrol bombs and missiles, including fireworks, as well as heavy masonry and manhole covers were thrown at officers.

    He said two adults have been arrested following the incidents in Belfast and further arrests will be made in the coming days and weeks.

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  • Tariq Tahir

    BUS ATTACK WAS ‘ATTEMPTED MURDER’

    The horrific attack on the Belfast bus has been branded “attempted murder” by a DUP politician

    Gordon Lyons MLA told BBC Radio Ulster: “The people that were doing what they were doing last night were involved in vandalism and attempted murder. It is quite clear there were lawbreakers there.”

    The charred remains of the bus were removed this morning.

    Credit: AFP
  • Tariq Tahir

    SINN FEIN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH POLICE CHIEF

    The president of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald has said she has meet with the PSNI chief constable.

    “Ongoing orchestrated violence must end,” she tweeted.

    “Those stoking up tensions at interfaces must be faced down. Those inflicting violence held to account.”

  • Tariq Tahir

    BUS SET ON FIRE IN RIOTS

    A bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said.

    It was one of a number of violent incidents unfolding on the peace line street that links the loyalist Shankill Road with the nationalist Springfield Road.

    The driver whose double-decker was attacked and burned is "very shaken by the incident but is physically unhurt", according to the public transport provider Translink.

    Credit: Reuters
  • Tariq Tahir

    PARAMILITARIES INVOLVED SAYS POLICE CHIEF

    Paramilitary organisations were involved in the disorder, according to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts.

    “We saw young people participating in serious disorder and committing serious criminal offenses, and they were supported and encouraged, and the actions were orchestrated by adults at certain times,” said Roberts,

    Police officers were called in from other parts of Northern Ireland to help to deal with the rioting.

  • Tariq Tahir

    ‘MINDLESS VIOLENCE’ SLAMMED BY LABOUR

    Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland Louise Haigh said the “mindless violence” is damaging local communities and “serves no purpose.”

    “The frontline police officers and all those trying to restore calm deserve our support.

    “All those with responsibility for Northern Ireland must be united in condemning the violence and coming together to bring it to an end.

    “Violence will do nothing to resolve the complex challenges facing Northern Ireland – that will only happen through engagement and constitutional politics.”

    Credit: 3
  • Tariq Tahir

    ‘PEACE GATES’ OPENED AND SET ON FIRE

    The gates of the peace line were opened during the riots, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists.

    The lines divide the two communities but tyres and bins were set on fire near the gates at Lanark Way.

    PSNI have said they have now closed the gates and have advised people to avoid the area.

    Credit: Photopress Belfast

     

  • Tariq Tahir

    ARELENE FOSTER SAYS ‘NO JUSTIFICATION’ FOR VIOLENCE

    First Minister Arlene Foster condemned the attacks on Twitter, saying: "There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop."

    She later added: "This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder. These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism.

    "They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland and only serve to take the focus off the real lawbreakers in Sinn Fein. My thoughts are with the bus driver."

    NINTCHDBPICT000646142813Credit: Getty

     

  • Tariq Tahir

    POLICE URGE STORMONT TO UNANIMOUSLY CONDEMN RIOTS

    Ministers in the Stormont Executive have been urged to speak with a united voice in condemning rioting that has erupted in Northern Ireland.

    The call from the Police Federation came ahead of a meeting of the powersharing administration to discuss the escalating public order situation in the region.

    The Stormont Assembly is also being recalled from Easter recess for an emergency sitting later on Thursday morning to debate the violence, which has mostly flared in loyalist areas.

    The federation said at least another seven officers were injured in Wednesday night's violence in Belfast with a total of 41 injured across the province.

  • Tariq Tahir

    BORIS JOHNSON CONDEMNS NIGHT OF VIOLENCE

    The PM condemned the violence that was engulfing the streets of Northern Ireland after a bus was firebombed and police pelted with stones. 

    The bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said.

    Writing on Twitter, Johnson said: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

    "The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

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