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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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Young man in critical condition after being stabbed near bonfire in Belfast

A second man was also stabbed, and two men have been arrested.

Updated Aug 9th 2019, 10:15 AM

Bonfire in north Belfast Crowds watch as a bonfire is lit in the New Lodge area of Belfast to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

A YOUNG MAN is in a critical condition after being stabbed near the site of a huge bonfire that was lit in Belfast last night.

The PSNI yesterday abandoned an attempt to dismantle the bonfire at Queens Parade in the New Lodge area after clashes with protesters.

Police this morning confirmed that two men were stabbed in the area last night.

An 18-year-old man was stabbed in the back. He was taken to hospital, where his condition is understood to be critical.

A 39-year-old man was stabbed in his arm and hip. He is also in hospital receiving treatment, however his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Two men, aged 28 and 21, were arrested early this morning at an address off the Oldpark Road on suspicion of offences including causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Chief Inspector Kelly Moore said the PSNI is “aware of footage circulating on social media”, adding that it “will be examined as part of the wider investigation”.

She encouraged anyone who was in the area and who can assist the investigation to call 101, quoting reference 1818 08/08/19. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The bonfire was lit to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment in 1971 – a policy which saw Irish republicans arrested and imprisoned without trial.

Assistant chief constable Alan Todd yesterday said people “cheered” as officers fell to the ground injured.

Bonfire in north Belfast Crowds at the bonfire after it was lit. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Bonfire in north Belfast Crowds at the bonfire after it was lit. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“We’ve had three officers injured … by mostly attacks carried out by young people.

It’s clear to me that the young people are being orchestrated in the background by older heads, probably related to violent dissident republican groupings.

“There are a significant number of people who cheered when officers fell to the ground having been attacked. That’s reprehensible, and people need to reflect on that,” Todd said.

Bonfire in north Belfast Crowds watch as a bonfire is lit in the New Lodge area of Belfast. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Bonfire in north Belfast Crowds at the bonfire after it was lit. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The PSNI said three officers were injured as fireworks, bottles, wood and stones were thrown at them.

Six petrol bombs were recovered by police and a 13-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of riotous and disorderly behaviour.

‘Afraid and intimidated’ 

Sinn Féin and SDLP politicians were among those to raise concerns over the bonfire in recent days, calling for its removal.

Earlier this week, Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said the bonfire was not wanted by many local people.

“I’m not long back after visiting residents and it’s clear the local families of those involved need to sit with the residents who are afraid and intimidated,” she said.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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