Belfast riots LIVE – 7 police injured after petrol bomb attacks, street battles and bus hijack in Northern Ireland

A NIGHT of violence in Northern Ireland has left seven police officers injured.

Riots broke out in Belfast overnight with petrol bomb attacks, running street battles and bus hijacking.

The bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, cops said.

It was one of a number of violent incidents unfolding on the peace line street that links the loyalist Shankill Road with the nationalist Springfield Road.

Writing on Twitter, Boris Johnson said: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

It follows several nights of unrest in loyalist communities amid tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol on Brexit and the PSNI's handling of alleged coronavirus regulation breaches by Sinn Fein at the funeral of republican Bobby Storey.

Stones were thrown at police while a press photographer was assaulted nearby.

Later on, the gates of the peace line on Lanark Way were opened, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists.

Read our Belfast riots live blog below for the latest news and updates…

  • Tariq Tahir

    ‘PEACE GATES’ OPENED AND SET ON FIRE

    The gates of the peace line were opened during the riots, leading to clashes between loyalists and nationalists.

    The lines divide the two communities but tyres and bins were set on fire near the gates at Lanark Way.

    PSNI have said they have now closed the gates and have advised people to avoid the area.

    NINTCHDBPICT000646138012Credit: Photopress Belfast

     

  • Tariq Tahir

    ARELENE FOSTER SAYS ‘NO JUSTIFICATION’ FOR VIOLENCE

    First Minister Arlene Foster condemned the attacks on Twitter, saying: "There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop."

    She later added: "This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder. These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism.

    "They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland and only serve to take the focus off the real lawbreakers in Sinn Fein. My thoughts are with the bus driver."

    NINTCHDBPICT000646142813Credit: Getty

     

  • Tariq Tahir

    POLICE URGE STORMONT TO UNANIMOUSLY CONDEMN RIOTS

    Ministers in the Stormont Executive have been urged to speak with a united voice in condemning rioting that has erupted in Northern Ireland.

    The call from the Police Federation came ahead of a meeting of the powersharing administration to discuss the escalating public order situation in the region.

    The Stormont Assembly is also being recalled from Easter recess for an emergency sitting later on Thursday morning to debate the violence, which has mostly flared in loyalist areas.

    The federation said at least another seven officers were injured in Wednesday night's violence in Belfast with a total of 41 injured across the province.

  • Tariq Tahir

    BORIS JOHNSON CONDEMNS NIGHT OF VIOLENCE

    The PM condemned the violence that was engulfing the streets of Northern Ireland after a bus was firebombed and police pelted with stones. 

    The bus was set alight after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and Shankill Road in west Belfast, the PSNI said.

    Writing on Twitter, Johnson said: "I am deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland, especially attacks on PSNI who are protecting the public and businesses, attacks on a bus driver and the assault of a journalist.

    "The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality."

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