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Bus and cars set on fire and bomb scare at airport as UVF threatens 'serious disorder'

Bonfires are traditionally lit on the Eleventh Night, the eve of the Twelfth of July, and police are expecting trouble.

Updated Jul 11th 2018, 10:54 PM

Battle of the Boyne commemorations Police near a fire site on Bloomfield Avenue Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

THE UVF HAS threatened to orchestrate “serious disorder” in east Belfast tonight, according to police.

Earlier this evening, Belfast City Airport was evacuated and closed due to a bomb scare, but it has since reopened.

Police are also dealing with cars being set on fire by masked men in Belfast after a bus was set alight in the Westwinds Estate in Co Down at around 7.30pm.

It was reported that a number of masked men, including one carrying a suspected firearm, hijacked the bus in Blenheim Drive before setting it on fire.

There were passengers on board at the time, but no one was injured

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd urged people against engaging in any violent or criminal behaviour this evening on the eve of the unionist marches tomorrow.

Police have received Information from the community which indicates that the East Belfast UVF intend to orchestrate and participate in serious disorder in East Belfast this evening directed against my officers.

Bonfires

Earlier today police protection was given to removal teams taking material from bonfires in East Belfast.

Police, dressed in riot gear, were protecting the masked contractors removing material from two bonfire sites – at Cluan Place and Bloomfield.

Battle of the Boyne commemorations Police activity in east Belfast Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Yesterday a High Court judge ordered the Bloomfield bonfire to be reduced in size. However, it was prematurely set alight in the early hours of this morning.

The Bloomfield bonfire was one of hundreds across Northern Ireland due to be burned late tonight as part of the annual Battle of the Boyne commemorations.

The fires are traditionally lit on the Eleventh Night, the eve of the Twelfth of July, and supporters say they’re an important part of loyalist culture.

It’s reported that missiles were thrown at police when they moved in to allow contractors to take away the material.

Battle of the Boyne commemorations Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Northern Ireland’s Fire Service (NIFRS) has asked for the public’s support ahead of tonight saying:

Firefighters should be able to carry out their job without fear of attack or harassment tonight.

The fire service had concerns that buildings on either side of the Cluan Place bonfire would be destroyed if the fire was lit. The fire has now been cleared.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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