Social media 'stoking' NI violence

Published Tuesday, 11 December 2012
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Twitter and Facebook are being used to encourage riots across Northern Ireland, the PSNI Chief Constable has said.

Social media 'stoking' NI violence
Chief Constable Matt Baggott said violence was orchestrated by social media. (© PA)

Matt Baggott spoke after a petrol bomb was thrown at a female police officer in east Belfast on Monday.

She was in an unmarked patrol car guarding the office of local Alliance MP Naomi Long, who received a death threat last week.

"I think what we are seeing here is the work of the social media bringing people out," said the Chief Constable.

Mr Baggott described the attack as attempted murder and said he was very angry about the actions that put his officer's life at risk.

"These police officers are there simply doing their job protecting communities. There will be a full investigation and I will be hopeful that we will bring people before the courts as soon as possible," he said.

This is a phenomena of mob violence which has been stoked up by individuals and the social media.

Matt Baggott

Forty roads were blocked in the region on Monday in an eighth night of disruption, and it is understood that further protests are expected on Tuesday.

The disorder was sparked by a Belfast City Council vote to restrict the number of days when the Union flag is flown from Belfast City Hall.

Although some protests in towns and cities across NI have been peaceful, others have seen police pelted with bricks and stones and a total of 27 officers have so far been injured.

Last week Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said paramilitaries were behind the violence on Friday night, during which eight police officers were injured.

But former UDA leader Jackie McDonald told UTV that was not the case.

"There's absolutely no paramilitary involvement in the violence here [on Friday night]," he said.

Almost 40 people - including boys as young as 13 - have been arrested by police investigating the disorder.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

"It is absolutely disgraceful, the attack on the police officer last night was totally unacceptable," she said.

She added that Prime Minister David Cameron was following the "grave situation".

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in Belfast wrote (779 days ago):
I have seen these Loyalist pages on facebook myself and they are nothing more than a meeting and discussion page for loyalist sectarian bigots. Many people, including myself have reported these pages to facebook and they STILL closed those pages. These pages are in clear breach of Facebook rules and conditions. One page in particular is called "Join if you want Colin Duffy Dead", this is a serious threat of murder against Colin Duffy simply because hes a republican and STILL facebook has acted against this page.
Geoff in Belfast wrote (779 days ago):
We all want jobs. We all want well paid jobs. We all want prosperity. I want a future for all kids. Why couldn't the council have delayed the vote till after Christmas? This will have an enormous impact on local economics. People won't shop. Shops will lose money. More closed stores on our high street during one of the worst recessions we have ever seen. More people out of work. People are leaving my work to get home early to avoid road blocks. Rush hour traffic is at a standstill. That is not good for international employers looking here to invest. I mean, would you invest here if you saw that? Would you? It is beyond arrogance. It is dinosaur politics. A throw back "Everything must drop for the local cultural sensitivities" load of absolute rubbish. I ask you: Did anyone seriously notice the flag at the top of the City Hall? I pass the City Hall every day at least twice and I never noticed it. Am I offended or happy it is taken away? I couldn’t care less. I want to get a promotion at work. I want to pay my mortgage. I want a career path. I want to give a future to my loved ones. I want to make them happy. That is what is important. Not flags! I mean wise up.
Ciaran in Belfast wrote (780 days ago):
I reported a number of paramilitary symbols and sectarian messages posted on Facebook and Facebook refused to remove the pictures - suggesting that those who have reviewed the images have no understanding of the symbols, imagery and sectarian messages.
chris in belfast wrote (780 days ago):
These protests are a joke, aimed at causing as much disruption as possible. If the protesters had ever worked a day in their lives then they would understand the annoyance they are causing by blocking roads at home time. I am a protestant from Belfast and I do not care if the flag is not up all year round. If these idiots cared so much, then they should have gone out and used their vote in the elections. But there was probably a really good episode of Jeremy Kyle on that day! Lets not let these muppets ruin christmas please.
jon in lisburn wrote (780 days ago):
Mr Baggott wants to point the finger at the politicians - WHY - any one in there right mind would know why . You cannot take down the SOVREIGN FLAG of a country , a nation without the consent of the nation .To do so , as has been done , is going to cause major unrest as we see . The Alliance party and others connected with this action should be tried for treason ! Also all UK benefits , salaries etc etc should be suspended to those involved in this mutinous conspiracy . NOT PARAMILITARIES , simply THE PEOPLE of OUR COUNTRY expressing there anger and this wants put right before it turns to fury .
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