‘Up to 100 kids’ in Belfast trouble

‘Up to 100 kids’ in Belfast trouble

Police officers were attacked with petrol bombs by a crowd of up to 100 youths - some aged 13 or 14 - during trouble in east Belfast on Tuesday night.

Police said the trouble flared when a car was set on fire at around 11pm at Castlereagh Street.When officers attended they were attacked with petrol and paint bombs during the disorder.Additional officers were drafted into the predominately loyalist area to calm the situation, which comes as the latest in a series of disturbances.PSNI Superintendent Darrin Jones said: "Over the last five or six nights in the Castlereagh Street and Beersbridge Road area of east Belfast there has been an increase in disorderly behaviour."In the past couple of nights it has become more sinister in that police have been drawn into the area and youths have thrown petrol bombs and paint bombs at police."There are indications this is being orchestrated through social media."Superintendent Jones added that 50 arrests have been made at the east Belfast interface since April.This is a crowd of up to 100 kids ranging from age 13 or 14 to age 20 who are coming together, drawing police in.Superintendent Darrin JonesUTV spoke with the young Polish woman who owns the car that was burnt out during the latest trouble.The woman, who is seven months pregnant, said she was frightened by what happened but doesn't believe she was targeted because of her nationality.Police said there was nothing to suggest the trouble was between rival factions.East Belfast Area Commander Chief Inspector David Moore said: "Additional police resources have been deployed in the area in order to increase visibility and to act as a deterrent to individuals who may be considering orchestrating any attack."This police presence has also sought where possible to identify people involved and where there is evidence of an offence, we will take action to bring these offenders before the courts.""I would continue to appeal to the local communities within east Belfast to assist us in addressing problems in their area by reporting crime and passing on information about this type of crime and those involved to us on the non-emergency number 101."Parents are reminded to ensure that they know the whereabouts of their children as anyone that is caught engaging in disorder or criminal damage is likely to end up with a criminal record.East Belfast Area Commander Chief Inspector David MooreThe incident is a latest of a series of disturbances in the area over the past week.Over the weekend rival factions of loyalist and nationalist youths clashed in the area, again throwing petrol bombs and other missiles.Police said that incident was an escalation of trouble over previous nights and urged parents to be aware of where there children are at nights and what they are up to.They said the clashes were organised over social media.East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton condemned the disturbances caused by the young people."East Belfast is a very vibrant area, this is not a reflection and indeed detracts from anyone who wants to invest and create jobs here," he said."I think someone needs to step up to the plate and explain what is going on, I see no reason for it and no one has explained it to me."The prospect is, some young person or young people will end up with a criminal record, end up in jail and all the implications that that has for their future."Local Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile said there was a frustration in the community that trouble has erupted following a quiet summer."We have an upsurge in this part of east Belfast since the weekend, so that's worrying," he said."There's always that volatile potential unfortunately in that part of east Belfast so we need to keep a lid on that and that's why we need to ensure that parents are explaining to the young people the dangers and the real importance of staying away from this again in future." TEST

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