Fourth night of trouble in east Belfast

Published Sunday, 06 January 2013
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Trouble has erupted in east Belfast for the fourth consecutive night, in the wake of a loyalist flag protest on Sunday night.

Fourth night of trouble in east Belfast
A car is set alight in the Templemore Avenue area in east Belfast (© Presseye)

Police said they dealt with public disorder in the Castlereagh Street, Albertbridge Road, Beersbridge Road, and Mountpottinger Road areas.

Violence broke out shortly before 9pm.

Officers came under attack from fireworks and missiles, including bottles and bricks.

UTV's Marc Mallett said a car was set alight at the Templemore Avenue junction with Beersbridge Road. He said violence was not "on the same scale as previous nights".

It came as PUP leader Billy Hutchinson met with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott on Sunday night following allegations of police heavy-handedness.

He called for flag protests to remain peaceful.

"I do want to reiterate that what we want to see is peaceful protests," he said in a YouTube statement.

Earlier community, political and religious leaders met at Rev Mervyn Gibson's Westbourne Presbyterian Church to discuss the violence.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who attended the meeting in the afternoon, said it was "useful and positive".

"I unreservedly condemn all acts of violence and intimidation against police officers, elected representatives, other members of society, homes and property. There is neither excuse nor justification for resorting to violence," he said.

The only way forward is through democracy.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

Meanwhile, Justice Minister David Ford has called for an urgent meeting of all party leaders.

The Alliance leader said: "Leaders must be united in their condemnation of the violence and attacks on police.

"The leaders of all parties must also speak with one voice when calling for the protests to cease, making clear that any solution must be a political one.

"It is essential that those charged with leadership actually start to act like statesmen and not partisan politicians."

Elsewhere, police in Ballymena said they dealt with "instances of public disorder in the Ballykeel area" where a road was blocked on Sunday night.

It is understood the trouble erupted outside Ballykeel Presbyterian Church, disrupting people going to the service.

Police said a petrol bomb was thrown, while a number of bins were set alight.

Earlier, Mr Baggott said police will deal with rioting "for however long is necessary".

"The Police Service will continue to do everything possible to maintain law and order and we will deal firmly with outbreaks of violence," the Chief Constable said.

"As you have seen in the last few days we will continue to apprehend and put people before the courts."

A 52-year-old has become the latest man charged with disorderly behaviour, in connection with rioting in Belfast. He will appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday.

As is normal procedure all charges will be reviewed by the PPS.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
35 Comments
maria doherty in derry northern ireland wrote (570 days ago):
Total disgrace! These protests and riots are destroying our good reputation. Who would want to visit Belfast after seeing such behaviour on the streets. The majority of people want to live in peace together!
michael in belfast wrote (570 days ago):
andy i heard of that driver. happened saturday night. dont really give a toss where he was from or what religion, probably a stones throw from homelessness about now. i cant see how anyone in my city would be proud of that
ethan in belfast wrote (571 days ago):
Great to see after four night of riots the first minister peter robinson mla has spoken out for the first time may i ask where has he been away on hoilday you are goverment sort it out!! Investers who want to invest into belfast maybe you should of thought of that before you took the flag down ppl are reacting to what you do!!!
brian in Ottawa canada wrote (571 days ago):
To Del and the other 'White Rhodesians' in the northern part of the island of Ireland - get real. The world sees you as an anachronistic bunch of hoodlums. The Brits laugh at your flag antics. The only solace in all this nonsense is that it clearly is the last kick at the can for a group who soon - Thank God - will be a page in history (one that you gloss over quickly). As an ex-pat from Belfast, it took me to come to Canada to realise that indeed I am Irish - to my friends in Sandy Row and East Belfast - recognise this reality too as soon.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (571 days ago):
@Mark, NI: No mark, i am serious, the PSNI should ask for help from garda siochana. Andd why not? Both police forces have already signed agreements for closer co-operation and even transfers of officers between forces.
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