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Eight charged over city violence

Water cannon are deployed after a fifth night of trouble erupts in east Belfast.

Eight people have been charged over disorder in Belfast after a fifth consecutive night of street riots.

Tuesday, 08 January 2013
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A total of eight people were arrested and three police officers injured in the Greater Belfast area on Monday night.

Four men and two women were arrested in the east of the city - four of them have since been charged and appeared in court.

Two men aged 22 and 45 are also due to appear in Belfast Magistrates' Court after they were charged with public disorder in the Newtownards Road area.

The PSNI said that missiles ranging from petrol bombs, paint bombs, fireworks and heavy masonry were thrown at police officers in east Belfast.

Vehicles were also attacked by loyalist rioters armed with hatchets and sledge hammers.

"Water cannon was deployed and 5 AEPs were discharged," a PSNI statement confirmed.

"Two police officers were injured. Police also received a report of an attempted car hijacking in the Templemore Avenue area and attempted lorry hi-jacking in the Albertbridge Road area," the PSNI statement continued.

Earlier in the evening, a flag passed off peacefully at City Hall to coincide with Belfast City Council's first full meeting since it passed a motion to restrict the flying of the Union Flag at the historic building.

Around 400 loyalist protestors gathered amid a heavy police presence in the city centre.

Police said that violence in east Belfast erupted after a crowd of around 70 nationalist youths from the nearby Short Strand area hurled missiles at the protestors returning from the demonstration, some of whom chanted sectarian abuse.

"Additional police officers responded to support Neighbourhood officers who were already on the ground in the Short Strand in order to deal with a crowd of around 70, mainly youths, that had rapidly gathered."

Meanwhile, petrol bombs, fireworks and other missiles were thrown at police in the Dundonald area.

A car was set on fire in the Bute Park area. One man was arrested and one police officer was injured.

Two men have been charged with public disorder in the Robbs Road area.

A 51-year-old man is charged with rioting, criminal damage to a police car, obstruction, resisting arrest and threats, while an 18-year-old man is charged with rioting and attempted criminal damage.

They are due to appear at Bangor Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

A 48-year-old woman was arrested in the Yorkgate area for disorderly behaviour. She was later released pending a report to the PPS.