Police attacked in further loyalist disturbances in Northern Ireland

A police officer walks behind a police vehicle with flames leaping up the rear after violence broke out in Newtownabbey north of Belfast in Northern Ireland

Police attacked in further loyalist disturbances in Northern Ireland

PSNI officers were attacked with petrol bombs and fireworks, leading the Police Federation of Northern Ireland to ask: 'What is the point of this?'

On Saturday, 30 petrol bombs were thrown at officers in Newtownabbey in what police described as an "orchestrated attack".

The disturbances broke out in the loyalist O'Neill/Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of Northern Irish capital, this past Saturday evening.

It brings the total number of police injured in incidents in Derry and Belfast over the Easter weekend to 32.

The faction is believed to have been behind some of the weekend disturbances.

Police have come under attack as violence flared during another night of sporadic disorder in parts of Northern Ireland.

"Often those who orchestrate these events in the North are never anywhere to be seen when it comes to the arrests and it's very sad, it's very unfair, young people are pushed to the front and are left as the ones that get arrested", he said.

In Derry lastnight officers were targeted and pelted with petrol bombs and masonry in the Dungiven Road area where pallets were placed on the road and set alight.

The scenes in Newtownabbey last night.

"It is totally unacceptable, and it is crucial we send out a message to those responsible that such behavior can not be tolerated".

"The people of Derry/Londonderry deserve to feel safe within their own homes and be able to walk the streets without fear".

RTE reported on Monday morning at eight people have already been arrested.

The scenes come amid rising tensions within loyalism across Northern Ireland.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live he called the attached "very disappointing".

According to District commander, Chief Superintendent Simon Walls, police officers attending the scene suffered burns as well as head and leg injuries after coming under attack from rioters throwing metal rods, masonry and fireworks.

When the Northern Ireland Protocol became operative on December 31, increased controls on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain came into effect, leading many in loyalist, unionist communities condemning their distinction from mainland United Kingdom residents.

Matters were made worse by the public prosecutors' decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Fein party members who attended the funeral in June of Irish Republican Army figure Bobby Storey in blatant violation of of Covid-19 guidelines.

The main unionist parties have demanded the resignation of Northern Ireland's police chief over the controversy, claiming he has lost the confidence of their community.

Doug Beattie, UUP MLA for Upper Bann, said it was a "tragedy" that young people as young as 13 and 14 were part of the violence.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which jointly governs Northern Ireland with Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, has called for the Brexit deal to be scrapped.

He said it was "totally unacceptable" that Friday was the fifth successive night of disturbances in the unionist Waterside area of the city.

"By their words and actions they have sent a very risky message to young people in loyalist areas", Gerry Kelly, a lawmaker from the pro-Irish Sinn Fein party, which shares power in the devolved government with the DUP, said in a statement.

"Gerry Kelly and co need to get real".

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