Rioters pelt police with 30 petrol bombs and torch three hijacked cars in Northern Ireland
Police officers were attacked with petrol bombs last night as violence erupted once again in Northern Ireland during the fifth consecutive night of disorder.
A total of 30 bombs were hurled at police in Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of Belfast on Saturday, and three cars were hijacked and set alight in what has since been termed as an ‘orchestrated attack’.
The scenes came just a day after 12 officers were injured in Derry on Friday night by a large group throwing masonry, bottles, petrol bombs and fireworks.
Some 27 police officers were injured on Friday night across Belfast and Derry.
North Area Commander Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said 30 petrol bombs were thrown last night after a crowd of 20 to 30 people people gathered in the O’Neill Road/Cloughfern area from around 7.30pm to 10.30pm.
A man walks past a burning car after it was hijacked at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey and set alight
A police van is engulfed in flames after violence breaks out in Newtownabbey, north of Belfast
A burnt car and flames are seen on the street after rioters descended upon the scene nt out car in Newtownabbey last night
He said: ‘In total 30 petrol bombs were thrown at police and three vehicles were hijacked and set on fire,’ he said.
‘One man aged 47 was arrested and he currently remains in police custody.’
Mr Beck continued: ‘My officers put on their uniform every day and go out into the community they serve, not knowing what lies ahead of them.
‘However this does not deter them from turning up every day to do their duty.
‘No-one, no matter what line of work they are in, deserves to be subjected to any kind of violence.
‘The officers who serve the Newtownabbey area are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, they have families who wait every day on their loved ones coming home, hoping they have not been injured, or worse.’
He added: ‘We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with a global pandemic, no-one needs the added pressure of disorder in their community.
‘I would appeal to those who are taking to the streets to stop immediately, their actions are causing nothing but harm and distress to the very communities they claim they are representing.’
The scenes come amid rising tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.
Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
In Co Antrim, a recent series of drug seizures against the South East Antrim UDA – a renegade faction of the main grouping – have caused particular ill-feeling towards police.
A person stands at the scene as smoke rises into the air after another night of disorder in Northern Ireland
The Police Service of Northern Ireland attends the scene in Newtownabbey after 30 petrol bombs were thrown at officers
Police cars rush to the scene after three cars were set alight in what has since been termed as an ‘orchestrated attack’
The faction is believed to have been behind the disturbances in Newtownabbey on Saturday.
Tensions ramped up further this week following a controversial decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.