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Cars lie burnt-out today in the aftermath of last night's riots in Ballyclare

Six injured in rioting as police van rammed by hijacked bus

PSNI officers also came under attack from petrol bombs amid serious disturbances in the North last night.

SIX PSNI OFFICERS were injured overnight as loyalist crowds clashed with security forces in a dispute over the flying of sectarian flags.

The rioting flared just before midnight in Ballyclare, Co Antrim as a crowd of between 70 and 100 people hurled petrol bombs and other objects at police. Five officers were injured when a PSNI Land Rover was rammed by a hijacked bus, while another was hurt by a missile. A water cannon was used, and the trouble ended at around 2.30am, according to the PSNI.

Loyalists in the area had staged a protest on Saturday after unionist flags were removed by police on Friday, the BBC reports. DUP MLA Paul Girvan said: “There was a number of loyalist paramilitary flags removed, but as well as that there was union flags and an Ulster flag [removed]. As a result there was a bit of a backlash from the community and those who put the flags up.”

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old man was arrested after disturbances in Magherafelt early this morning. A barricade was set up and police officers assaulted as they tried to remove it, according to the PSNI. Homes were also attacked in what is being treated as a sectarian incident.

The disturbances come amid rising tensions in the run-up to the traditional July 12 marching season in the North.

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