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Dublin: 17°C Sunday 19 September 2021

Blast bombs thrown by masked men, tyres set on fire in Belfast

The US Vice President has expressed his concerns about the violence to Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

Riot police secure the Woodvale area close to Ardoyne in north Belfast.
Riot police secure the Woodvale area close to Ardoyne in north Belfast.
Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

PIPE BOMBS, BLAST bombs and other missiles were thrown at police lines in Belfast yesterday, the fourth consecutive night of violence in the city.

The PSNI said that at least one pipe bomb-type device was thrown at officers in the Ardoyne area in the early evening.

Describing the explosion, Superintendent Emma Bond said the force was “extremely fortunate” it wasn’t more serious and that all personnel were able to walk away unharmed.

Blast bombs were also thrown in east Belfast by a group of masked men in Pitt Park.

Over on the Newtownards Road, police deployed water cannon and plastic baton rounds as they tried to disperse rioters.

Bond urged community leaders to exert their influence in the coming days to ensure calm in the area.

A number of roads were closed throughout the night as crowds continued to build up and the A4 dual carriageway was shut for a period as a number of tyres were set on fire.

A loyalist rioter attacks riot police in the Woodvale area of north Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

The violence, which began as the Parades Commission blocked an Orange Order march on 12 July, has been condemned by politicians from all parties.

According to the White House, US vice president Joe Biden expressed his concerns about the violence to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister yesterday.

He called for calm following the weekend riots during which 40 police officers were injured.

The White House says Biden also spoke to Richard Haass, the Bush-era US envoy to Northern Ireland who is overseeing a new round of talks to tackle difficult and divisive issues 15 years after the 1998 peace agreement.The White House says the US supports Haass’ efforts and that Biden is staying in close touch with him.

The Parades Commission and Martin McGuinness have held up Derry has an example that Belfast should follow.

“In Derry/Londonderry, the flagship Orange Order parade, which was part of the UK City of Culture celebrations passed off peacefully and with a relatively normal trading day throughout the city,” the Commission said in a statement. “This occurred because of good local leadership and a sustained and genuine dialogue that built up relationships and trust.

“In Belfast a similar example of leadership and dialogue is needed.”

Community leaders in the city have been criticised in recent days for inciting anger and violence. However, this was denied by the Orange Order which said it was “consistent and unambiguous in their appeals that violence had no place at the planned protests”.

-Additional reporting by the Associated Press

Read: Gilmore condemns ‘appalling’ attacks on police in Belfast

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