Two boys aged 12 e 15 have been arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour after police came under attack after a protest against the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol in Belfast.
Police described the scenes on Wednesday as “disgraceful”, with officers subjected to a volley of missiles and fireworks close to the site of previous violence in April. Three police vehicles were damaged.
The PSNI district commander, Darrin Jones, told BBC Good Morning Ulster no officers had been injured but said they believed the protest had been organised by “older people” who would have known the site of the protest was “a very volatile area”.
Egli ha detto: “It was very serious as at one stage there were up to 100 people on both sides of the interface attacking police officers.
“I know everyone has a right to protest and we have a positive obligation to facilitate protests. But there’s a time and there’s a place: the organisers must have reasonably expected what happened when the protest was there.”
Officers were deployed from about 5pm after a small protest, involving about 30 persone, was staged near Lanark Way on the loyalist side of the peace wall. Disorder broke out involving both sides of the community and continued for several hours, with wheelie bins being burned on the roads and bottles, masonry and fireworks being thrown.
No police officers were hurt but three vehicles were damaged, Jones said. Calm was restored to the area by about 10.30pm, Egli ha detto.
Ch Insp Darren Fox described the scenes as “totally unacceptable” and said the “disgraceful scenes of disorder seen this evening put members of the public and the responding police officers in real danger and must be condemned by all”.
Pat Sheehan, the Sinn Féin member of the legislative assembly for west Belfast, condemned those who organised the anti-protocol protest, saying there was “absolutely no place” for “this needless violence”.
He said the protest was a “dangerous and irresponsible stunt” that was “deliberately organised at this interface with the sole intention of heightening tensions and causing trouble”.
The violence comes days after a bus was hijacked and burned by two masked and armed men in Newtownards, a town east of Belfast. Loyalists claimed the attack was to mark the deadline the Democratic Unionist party (dopo) capo, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, had given for the Northern Ireland protocol to be radically changed or dumped.
On Wednesday night the SDLP West Belfast representative, Paul Doherty, called for a permanent end to disorder at interface areas in the community and appealed to young people not to engage in antisocial or dangerous behaviour.
“The young people taking part in these incidents are likely to end up with a criminal record or worse and I would urge them to think twice before they act. The violence on the streets of west Belfast this evening has little to do with Brexit. It’s about communities that have been abandoned and led astray by their politicians.
“Our young people are frustrated because of the high levels of poverty, unemployment and educational underachievement in these areas and this is what we need to be focusing on tackling," Egli ha detto.