FORTY SEVEN PSNI officers were injured during disorder overnight in part of Belfast.
Police said they dealt with “significant but localised public disorder” in the Carlisle Circus and Clifton Street area throughout yesterday and into the early hours of this morning.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the disturbances centred around a nationalist parade.
Police were attacked with fireworks, petrol bombs, masonry and lasers. A water cannon was deployed by police in the areas of Denmark Street and Antrim Road in response to the disorder. No AEPs were discharged, police said.
AP Photo/Peter Morrison
The police reported calm in the area just before 2am this morning.
Four police officers were brought to hospital with various injuries to the head, legs and chest, and only one officer remains in hospital. His injuries are not life threatening.
Forty three other officers received various minor injuries.
The PSNI said that at lunchtime yesterday a large crowd congregated between the Belfast Orange Hall and Carlisle Circus. A lawful parade had been notified but police said they had received no notification of a protest.
When police arrived on the scene, some people within the crowd had masked their face and police observed masonry being broken up by a number of individuals.
AP Photo/Peter Morrison
Police said they:
talked to community representatives with the aim of reducing tension and facilitating the lawful parade. Despite police efforts some within the crowd were intent on violence and began to attack police lines.
In order to allow the lawful parade to pass along its notified route, police moved the crowd in a graduated response back toward Carlisle Circus.
The PSNI said that a number of bricks and other missiles were exchanged between the parade supporters and the protestors as the parade passed through the area but the most sustained violence was directed at police lines.
As the parade dispersed youths also began attacking police in the Antrim Road area.
Officers continued throughout the day and evening to talk to community representatives in an effort to restore calm.
Trouble continued throughout the night, until the area was reported calm at around 2AM.
Speaking after the disorder, the officer in charge of the operation, Chief Supt George Clark, said he was “both angry and sad” that his officers have been subjected to “such significant attack”. He said they showed “tremendous courage in the face of enduring violence”.
As well as responding to public disorder and protecting the community and property, a robust evidence gathering operation was in place throughout yesterday. People will be held to account for their actions.
He urged all individuals and communities affected by recent events “to take a step back”.
Violence has serious and unwanted consequences for us all. We must work harder at finding solutions through talking and accommodation. We cannot continue to see the lives of our community and our police officers put at such risk.
Chief Supt Clark concluded:
Every hour of disorder in Northern Ireland not only puts lives at risk, it also reduces confidence in our community and wastes huge amounts of money that could be better spent on schools and hospitals. Violence cannot be a solution.