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Three 14-year-old boys arrested during latest disturbances in Belfast

Leaders have continued to call for an end to tensions in the North.

PSNI officers look on after a Loyalist throws a petrol bomb in Belfast last night
PSNI officers look on after a Loyalist throws a petrol bomb in Belfast last night
Image: PA

Updated Apr 10th 2021, 1:32 PM

THREE TEENAGE BOYS have been arrested during the latest night of disturbances in Belfast.

Small pockets of unrest continued in parts of the North last night, despite loyalists urging communities to desist from protesting out of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away earlier on Friday.

The disorder started at around 5pm and occurred in various parts of the city including Duncairn Gardens, the Tigers Bay area, and North Queen Street.

The PSNI reported that petrol bombs and masonry, including roof tiles, were thrown at police.

There was also an attempt to hijack vehicles on Limestone Road and, on North Queen Street, a car was hijacked and set on fire and pushed towards police lines.

Police were attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire at Tigers Bay, a loyalist area in north Belfast.

Some officers had missiles such as stones and bottles thrown at them, while there were also reports of petrol bombs being used.

There was a heavy police presence in the area overnight, with reports that stones were also thrown at officers in the nearby, nationalist area New Lodge.

A police spokesperson confirmed that three male teenagers, all aged 14, were arrested during the disorder. They have since been released pending further enquiries.

Another 14 officers were injured last night, bringing the total number of officers injured during the recent disorder to 88. One male officer was knocked unconscious and required hospital treatment.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Muir Clarke appealed for calm and asked anyone with any influence in communities to ensure that young people did “not get caught up in criminality” and that they were “kept safe and away from harm”.

Chief Inspector Darren Fox also described the scenes as “disgraceful” and said the actions of those involved were “shameful and senseless”.

“This was reckless and dangerous criminal behaviour which resulted in a number of our officers sustaining injury,” he said. “Thankfully, most of these injuries are not serious.”

He also said the violence was damaging local communities, adding that local residents did not want or deserve to experience the impact of the disturbances.

There were other incidents of unrest in the North yesterday evening, with reports of a road blocked off with a barricade which was then set alight in Coleraine in Derry.

Local SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said that the last thing people in the community wanted was further disruption.

“I understand that tensions are running high but resorting to this kind of behaviour only damages local people and services,” she said.

“The crowd burning refuse, blocking roads and intimidating people in this community needs to stop. They need to go home and let people get on with their lives.

“This is a time for calm. Things don’t need to escalate. Young people don’t need to end up with criminal convictions. I’m appealing for everyone to exercise their influence to reduce tensions in our community.”

northern-ireland-unrest Source: PA

Death of Duke of Edinburgh

Loyalist leaders had urged the community not to participate in protests on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Signs posted in Lanark Way, the scene of much of the unrest of recent days, read: “We would ask all PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family.

“The continued opposition to the NI protocol and all other injustices against the PUL community will take place again after the period of mourning.”

Meanwhile, two men are due to appear in court on Saturday after being charged in connection with the rioting that took place in Lanark Way in west Belfast on Thursday night.

Detectives investigating the disorder charged a 24-year-old man and a 32-year-old man with riot.

The 32-year-old was also charged with possession of a petrol bomb in suspicious circumstances.

They are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court at around 10.30am.

As is usual procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

Earlier, deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill voiced her concern that the violence of recent days will continue throughout the weekend.

“I’m worried about the weekend ahead. We all need to be very careful and very consciously try to do all we can to prevent this happening,” she said.

“I hope and I urge all young people to not engage, do not allow yourself to be used or manipulated in any sort of way, and to stay off the streets, stay home and stay safe.”

- Contains reporting by Press Association. Comments have been closed as this story references active court proceedings.

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